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Last updateFri, 29 Jul 2016 8am

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Wipe Computer Data

Someone gave you a computer with a working Windows operating system and it still has previous owner’s personal data. You want to make it yours without the owner’s data files, folders, and logon account.

Deleting the personal data using the Windows delete functions is not a true delete. Even emptying the recycle bin, the files are just hidden waiting to be overwritten with new files and/or during hard drive defragging. Computer technicians and even hackers can recover the deleted or perhaps over written data files using file recovery tools.

To permanently delete the data files, you would need to wipe the hard drive. This process would also nuke the Windows operating system. You can use WipeDrive, Darik’s Boot And Nuke, Stellar Wipe Drive, Acronis, KillDisk, and there are many others. Try to pick a good one that will do a total wipe. Some wipes do multiple passes. Generally, one pass is sufficient. However, if there are data of great concerns, then multiple wipe might be something to do. Some tools also do random overwrite multiple times to assure no data can be recovered. Before you do this, make sure you have the means to re-install Windows with related drivers for that system. A manufacturer's system recovery disk is another option to reinstall windows.

If you do not have the Windows installation or recovery disk then you will need to keep the current installed Windows in your system. You will have to manually remove undesired data files and programs. This will require some effort. Generally, there are no real issues to uninstall unwanted programs. Some un-installs may be unsuccessful due to missing required uninstall information files and leave its garbage behind (not a clean uninstall as it should be).

Data files are general stored in user accounts. You can create a new administrator user account then delete owner account. that will do it and is the common practice. To get start here, you should create a new administrator account for yourself. Then begin uninstall program you do not want. When satisfied, log off the current account that created the new owner account and log into the new owner account. MAKE SURE YOU CREATED THAT NEW ACCOUNT OF YOURS AS ADMINISTRATOR. Otherwise you will difficulty moving forward. Log onto your new account and delete all of the other user accounts on the computer. You will be prompted to allow the accounts deletions.

There are programs or tools that can help removed the unwanted programs completely. Such tools would be Perfect Uninstaller, Revo Uninstaller, CrystalIdea Uninstall Tool, and many others. Be careful what you pick. Recommend checking out the sources with good reviews. If you desire free tools, then first try places like SourceForge.net. This group is very thorough in checking out the candidate third party programs.

It would be recommended to remove cookies, temporary files, browsing history, and other leftover program debris. CCleaner, Regtool, Regclean, and so forth are known tools to used remove the listed items and to clean the registry. Make sure you back up the registry before cleaning the registry and have the means to restore the registry. Most of these tools provide this registry backup function. Assume you correctly configured the tool, it will analyze your disk and present an analysis report for your review and options.

After this, you should be good. It is recommended to monitor the system for any other issues requiring your attention to make the computer yours.

Enjoy your system and happy streaming.