I would like to clean my computer w/out deleting important programs. I am selling it and need to wipe out any files, websites, and info that might be compromising. Anyone know what I can do? I kind og want to do it low cost, free, .....so please help.
The best method in your situation is to copy your personal data to an auxilary hard drive or burn to CD, then re-install the factory image from either the rescue partition or the OEM CD set. This process will reformat the drive and restore all original programs.
Any additional programs you added will be lost, but your selling it anyway.
Other methods of "cleaning" will leave traces of previous content, however the "average" PC user probably couldnt do anything with them.
Formating the hard drive will wipe out EVERYTHING. You will need to open "my Computer" and delete each program and/or file you don't want. After you do the deletions, empty the recycle bin. Open the restore function and delete all restore points. Once the recycle bin has been emptied, re-boot the computer. Once the computer restarts, run disk defragmentor.
Let me qualify this by saying that without running a very powerful magnet over your disk, reformatting the drive and re-installing the OS, you will not truely "clean" your computer. If someone wants to find out what is on your computer they can.
That being said, you can use Cleanmgr by Microsoft if you have an XP. Go to the Microsoft support page and look for cleanmgr. You should find detailed directions on how to use it there. You can also go to your help screen, supplied by Microsoft, and it will give you directions on how to use cleanmgr. When you get to the help screen, type "cleanmgr" in the search box, then select the item labelled "Remove unneeded files".
Best way is to format and run dban disk nuker or something of that variety. After that's done, install fresh OS. You'd be surprised what's NOT deleted with the conventional "deleting" methods. If you're getting rid of the HDD, I'd recommend something to wipe it thoroughly like I descirbed...
ahhh... my world.... Just deleting files normally (moving them to the Recycle Bin, then emptying it) does not securely delete them...until they've been overwritten they can still be recovered using specialized software. Thus, before selling the computer, the best way to remove all the information on you computer completely is to remove your hard drive and drill a hole in it and replace it with a new one. If you are unable to do that, I would format the hard drive at least three times then reinstall the operating system.
Ok as a Data recovery engineer for the past 10 years. Here are a few rules:
1. A single reformat means NOTHING to me. Now if you lowlevel format it a few times this is MUCH better as it will tend to hit each sector of the drive. (I have the ability at work to zero out every sector at one pass)
2. Yes an EXTREMELY powerful maganet (pull refrigerator across floor) will wipe the disk and make it completely useless.
3. Delete and empty the recycle bin till your heart is content. The data is still there until the sectors that contained that data have new data written to them.
4. Data erasure programs work fine. If you want to be sure if they will work get ones that are DOD compliant (Dept. of Defense)
If you are at home and want to do this as easy as possible follow these steps.
1. Reformat multiple times (at least 3) and DO NOT use the quick format option (If you are worried about someone trying to recover the data then get a zero fill utility this will fill every byte with 00000000)
2. Reinstall operating system.
ahhh... my world....The best way to do this very simple. Just deleting files normally (moving them to the Recycle Bin, then emptying it) does not securely delete them...until they've been overwritten they can still be recovered using specialized software. Thus, before selling the computer, the best way to remove all the information on you computer completely is to remove your hard drive and drill a hole in it and replace it with a new one. If you are unable to do that, I would format the hard drive at least three times then reinstall the operating system.
pgoodchild and Papa Bear are correct - BUY A NEW HD! I wouldn't go through bestbuy though, check out Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!. Awesome service, prices are always really good. Cheap shipping (and you don't have to go into a Best Buy). I got a new laptop HD there and it came in 2 days. You may want to ask one of these two guys to help you pick out the right one (there are different kinds, speeds, etc.).