Delete, Wipe and sell on
Don’t sell your computer equipment until you wipe...
With computers, laptops and tablets now in most people’s price range, the chances are you will be disposing or selling on your system at some point. Whether giving an old computer to friends or family, disposing of it, or selling it locally or online like eBay, you will want to make sure that web browsing history and contacts are deleted, and even more importantly, your photos, personal information and files. Deleting them, then deleting them from your “recycle bin” isn’t enough as most people think, as they are just renamed and still left on your system, so anyone with a bit of knowledge or the right software can find them easily.
There are basically two types of data to delete. Web history, which is data that is downloaded by websites when you visit them, this includes the pages images and text. Windows stores downloaded web page content in a folder called “Temporary Internet Files” this is useful when you are revisiting websites as it helps to load pages faster and also saves on your broadband “bandwidth” as most of the pages content is already stored on your computer. The other type of data to delete is the type that you create with applications on your computer; this can be Word documents and even personal information and photos, these are the ones that are more difficult to delete permanently.
Delete your web history
To start off, the first type of data to delete is rather straightforward and easy. These days web browsers (internet explorer (IE), Firefox, etc) store lots of information on the websites you visit and use, most of it to make pages load faster when you visit them again. Web browsers will also store things called “Cookies” on your computer, they are small text files which hold other information about your surfing habits so it is always a good idea to delete all of this before you dispose of your computer or tablet in whatever way you decide. If you are going to be removing the hard drive, or wiping it completely then you don’t need to worry about this part.
Scrub application data dead
The best way to permanently delete the second type of data is to use a software based utility like System Mechanics Incinerator or Evidence Blaster. System Mechanic’s Incinerator, like other “erasing” software helps by permanently shredding or deleting the data. Some software like can also wipe the drive so it is back to its original state when it was made, leaving no information on the drive at all. Other software will overwrite the data, making it practically impossible to retrieve. This software is also good if you are thinking of wiping your hard drive and reinstalling the operating system (Windows, Linux etc.)
The trouble with selling on your PC is that buyers will want the operating system, like Windows 7, left on the PC, so a complete wipe is impossible unless you have the actual Windows reinstall disk. That is where something like System Mechanic Incinerator comes in handy as it makes so many passes over a file or folder to completely delete it.
While organised gangs are less than likely to want the information you have stored on your computer, it is still a good idea to permanently delete all traces of information for good. This is especially true if you are passing on the computer to friends or family. Deleting data and information helps to secure your privacy and makes sure you are in control of what’s seen and what’s not.
Taking the time to completely clean out all the junk files, backing up your personal files, folders and photos, then erasing what you don’t want to leave on the system will also help to make the system faster. You will be surprised of how much of your life is actually stored in digital form, and that is something you do not want someone else to see, or use.