How do I clear PC of personal data ?

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How do I clear PC of personal data ?
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myleswest
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June 27, 2018 - 11:15 am
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Hello everyone!

I want to give my old computer running Windows 7 to a friend of mine but of course I first want to wipe clean any of my personal information.
He is an older gentleman, and just wants to be able to turn on the PC to do a little bit of surfing the net now and then.

I don't want to do a "factory reset" and have him to do all the "setting up".
What would be the best and easiest way to have the PC all set up for him to use....minus my personal data?

Thank you.

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Richard Pedersen
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June 27, 2018 - 12:09 pm
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Hi Myles,

There are a number of ways to approach this.
Since you only want to get rid of your personal data, and your friend doesn't sound like he'd have the technical know-how to recover deleted data, you could simply go through all the folders containing your data and delete them.

This would not actually remove the data, however. If you truly want it to be difficult to recover, then a multi-pass "wipe" of those sectors would be needed. There are several free utilities available that will do this for you (CCleaner, included).

Don't forget to uninstall your licensed programs, as well.

The above suggestions are going to be time-consuming and you still won't be truly certain that you've covered everything. Windows places bits and pieces all over the place.

Really, the right way to do this would be to run a full format on the drive and re-install Windows. A "reset" is not enough.

I know that isn't what you wanted to hear,
Richard

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myleswest
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June 27, 2018 - 5:56 pm
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Richard Pedersen said
Hi Myles,
There are a number of ways to approach this.
Since you only want to get rid of your personal data, and your friend doesn't sound like he'd have the technical know-how to recover deleted data, you could simply go through all the folders containing your data and delete them.
This would not actually remove the data, however. If you truly want it to be difficult to recover, then a multi-pass "wipe" of those sectors would be needed. There are several free utilities available that will do this for you (CCleaner, included).
Don't forget to uninstall your licensed programs, as well.
The above suggestions are going to be time-consuming and you still won't be truly certain that you've covered everything. Windows places bits and pieces all over the place.
Really, the right way to do this would be to run a full format on the drive and re-install Windows. A "reset" is not enough.
I know that isn't what you wanted to hear,
Richard  

Thank you very much Richard. I really do appreciate the advice.
I will attempt to use CCleaner to "wipe" the files several times.
That should be sufficient.

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Richard Pedersen
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June 27, 2018 - 7:12 pm
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I believe there is CCleaner setting that lets you choose the number of passes it will use for the "wipe".
Don't quote me on that 😉

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Mindblower
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June 27, 2018 - 8:13 pm
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myleswest. You might also want to include a program called PrivaZer. It also has a setting to totally overwrite sensitive data so it can no longer get recovered.

You should purge all your information stored by your browsers. Delete you history, pages visited, cookies, etc. Remember just because you're offering your computer to a non tech savy person, this does not mean it might get passed onto some who is tech savy. It is better to be more cautious when dealing with personal information.

Depending on just what information you have stored, what you used the computer for, like personal banking etc, doing exactly what Richard suggested "run a full format on the drive and re-install Windows", is the best solution for a good nights restful sleep, Mindblower!

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