What do you do with your computer when you’re done using it? If you’re like most people, you probably just switch it off and put it somewhere, where it will sit until the next time you need to use it again. Unfortunately, that can be a big mistake if the computer contains sensitive information that other people could use to steal your identity or attack your finances. Here are 10 steps to wiping your computer so that no one can access any of the data stored on it. 10 Steps to Wiping a Computer
Table of Contents
1) Stop using it.
Before you get started, shut down your computer, disconnect all of its cables, and put it in a safe place. If it’s an old machine that’s ready for retirement, it’s best not to do anything with it at all. Simply turn it off and walk away! All these steps are precautions to ensure that you don’t accidentally erase something important.
2) Get rid of the peripherals.
Don’t just wipe your computer; get rid of all of its accessories, too. Printers and scanners are known for collecting massive amounts of data and storing it online, so you’ll want to ensure they aren’t accessible before selling or giving away your computer. Also, be sure that your smartphone is disconnected from any computers you no longer have access to.
3) Disconnect it from your wireless network.
If there’s any chance that your computer is infected with malware, disconnect it from your network. The last thing you want is for any of those trojans or spyware to re-infect other computers on your network!
4) Change the wireless password on your router
Make sure you change your router password to something complex and easy for you to remember. If you’re concerned about leaving passwords visible on screen, make sure your computer is in view of a security camera (wired or wireless) so if someone comes along and tries to snoop around they won’t be able to see what it is you’ve hidden.
5) Remove the hard drive.
If you’re selling your computer, it’s best not to re-use your old hard drive. Either store it somewhere else until you can recycle it properly or replace it with a new one. This will help prevent any personal information from being stolen by potential buyers of your computer. Before removing a hard drive, back up all of its data and then remove it from its casing. You should be able to pull out most drives by hand—they usually slide out of their cases at about an inch per second—but if yours is stubborn, gently pry it out using a flathead screwdriver.
6) Degauss the drive.
If your computer has a hard drive, run it through a degausser. A degausser erases all data on your drive by surrounding it with strong magnetic fields. Almost every city has one at its public library, but if you don’t want to go through your local library, most hard drives have an option in their manual that instructs you how to manually degausse them.
7) Destroy it using software or another method.
If you want to make sure no one can recover any data from your computer, there are several software options out there that will destroy it for you. For example, degus is an open-source Windows utility that makes use of several different methods to ensure any data on your hard drive is erased and unrecoverable. You can also use file shredding tools like Eraser or Wave Shredder if you’re using Mac OS X or Linux.
8) Physically destroy it.
A simple way to ensure your hard drive is wiped clean is to destroy it—by, say, taking a hammer or drill and puncturing holes through it. This will not only ruin your hard drive but also make it useless for future recoveries. Be sure you don’t leave any part of your hard drive intact if you go down this route. If any part of your drive still functions (or even appears functional), there’s still information on it that can be recovered.
9) Clean up any remaining data in your browser cache and saved passwords.
The browser you use can help prevent others from accessing your private information. Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have tools that allow you to clean up your browsing history. You should regularly delete temporary files, cookies, saved passwords and web addresses for sites that you no longer visit or care about. For Firefox, select Clear Recent History from the History menu.
10) Reformatting won’t do anything, you need to go further.
To truly erase any data from your computer, you must perform a disk wipe. This is not something you want to do on your own and you should do it very carefully. To start, make sure all of your private data is stored in another safe location like an external hard drive or another computer’s hard drive that isn’t connected to your computer anymore.
What is Data? Data has two types: data at rest and data in motion. Data at rest refers to any information that is stored on your computer system or network, while data in motion describes any data being transmitted over a network. To truly wipe your device (with no possibility of retrieval), you need to scrub both kinds of data.
How do you totally wipe a computer?
There are many reasons you might want to wipe your computer of all its data. Maybe you’re selling or giving away your machine, or maybe it was seized as part of an investigation. Either way, here are some tips for ensuring that all your sensitive data is gone forever and isn’t just sitting on backup disks in case you need it again someday.
Can you truly wipe a computer?
We live in an age where computer criminals use malware, Ransomware and other ways of breaching our privacy. Because of that, you want to be sure when disposing of a laptop or desktop computer that you wipe everything so that nobody can recover private data. The following steps will help you erase all data from your PC before getting rid of it: 1. ______________ 2. ______________ 3. ______________ 4. ______________ 5. ______________ 6. ______________ 7.
How do you wipe out a computer and start over?
Before you sell or give away an old computer, it’s best to make sure all your information is erased from it. Learn how to wipe hard drives and other storage devices so that your private data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. After reading about how to wipe your computer, be sure to check out our related posts on data recovery and security for more information on keeping files private. Some of these methods are destructive in nature, and users should be aware of what they’re doing before wiping any systems.
How do I clean my computer before returning it?
Cleaning your computer before returning it can protect you from identity theft and make sure that all of your information is removed from its hard drive. It’s a good idea to have one final check for sensitive documents after you think everything has been deleted—just in case. If you are unsure about how to do that, ask for help at your IT department or computer store. Here’s how
How do I prepare my laptop for recycling?
1. Make sure that your computer is disconnected from any networks or hardwired sources of power.
2. Click on start and right click on Computer and select Manage
3. Go to Disk Management
4. Select your operating system (will probably be C:)
5. Right click and select delete
6. Follow steps 3 through 5 for each drive on your computer
7. Disconnect all storage devices
8. Remove all PCI cards
9 Remove RAM
10 Turn off computer by holding down power button for 30 seconds then restart as normal
How do you remove the hard drive from a laptop computer?
By unscrewing the hard drive from its mounting bracket. Laptops often have multiple screws securing their hard drives in place.
How much to clean computers?
There are two primary ways of removing data from your computer: wiping and overwriting. Erasing an entire drive or specific files with tools like Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) or File Shredder doesn’t actually remove data from your hard drive. It just removes links in its directory tree so that you can no longer see it. In order to completely eradicate all traces of data, you need to overwrite every bit.
If I wipe my windows tablet will it wipe my PC in sync with
If you’re planning on wiping your computer, it’s important to make sure that all of your personal data is synced to your account and backed up somewhere. If you wipe both computers, then those sync settings should mirror each other and keep all of your data. However, if you wipe one PC but not another, then it’s possible for some unsynced data to still exist on that first machine. When in doubt: back up.
Are computers wiped clean when you leave dpscd?
Computers are wiped clean when employees leave DPCS, but several precautions are made to ensure that no data is left behind. Computers are wiped clean when employees leave DPCS, but several precautions are made to ensure that no data is left behind.