01 May 2019
Selling your PC? Here's the way to remove data permanently
When you use a computer for years, you naturally keep a lot of personal and professional stuff on it.
Normally, you'd want to keep this information secure but when it's time to sell/trade that PC for a new one, you may want to back-up and delete everything permanently.
Now, if that seems a bit complicated, here's a guide to help.
Let's take a look.
First up, back-up everything from the system
When you decide to sell a PC, keep some time to prepare your machine for the transaction.
As the first step, copy everything that's on the system, from personal photos/videos to work-related documents and anything else that may be of importance, on an external drive.
Next, go to Windows' backup from the control panel and create a full system image on the same drive.
De-register paid software
After backing up data, check your computer for software tools licensed to run on a single computer.
This could be your anti-virus or any other program with a 1PC license; if you don't find such software, move to the next step.
But if you do, make sure to de-register your computer for that program, otherwise its license key won't work on your new machine.
Now, look at the clean-up options
Normally, most of you would prefer Windows 10's 'Reset PC' utility to delete everything from a computer.
But, here's the thing, the clean-up mechanism of Windows 10 offers a consumer-level solution and not a full sweep.
This means if a professional hacker or someone with a specialty software would want to steal your data, they'd be able to recover it even after the reset.
Pick a specialty software for wiping data
While Windows 10 does a decent enough job at resetting PC, we'd recommend going for third-party specialty software 'Eraser' for deleting all the data from hard drives.
It's a free security tool for Windows that can remove everything from your computer's hard drive by overwriting it several times through carefully selected patterns, much like scribbling over something.
Now, you can follow-up with conventional Windows 10 reset
Once the overwriting is complete, you can be assured that your data is irrecoverable.
Now, you can go ahead with resetting Windows 10 and junking everything on the PC.
To do this, head over to 'Update and Security' from Settings and click on the 'Reset this PC' option from the Recovery tab.
Next, follow on-screen instructions and click 'Delete Everything' when prompted.
Backup is an insurance of sorts
The backed-up data and system image will stay on the external hard drive in the form of an insurance of sorts. You'll be able to move everything to the new machine easily and also have the option of restoring the old one if needed.
Overwriting may take some time
Eraser lets you overwrite the entire hard drive or select partitions a number of times with different methods. However, do note that the process may take several hours, depending on the data on your machine.