Clearing out a computer

We have a computer which we are intending to sell. Could you please advise how to clear the hard drive of all info prior to selling?

The answer depends on who you are selling it to and what state you want it in when it’s sold.

You can wipe the computer hard drive completely, repartition the drive and reinstall the operating system. This is a long winded way of doing things however it’s probably the best if you are selling it on the open market. It also requires some degree of computer knowledge.

A quicker fix is to simply delete the user profiles currently on the system.

In Windows go to the Control Panel, click User Accounts and add a new user. Choose to make the user an Administrator. Log off and log back on as the new user,  go back to the user accounts and delete the accounts you currently use, choose to delete all user data when it asks you.

On the Mac, go into System Preferences and open the Accounts settings. Create a new user and give them rights to adminsister the computer. Log off and log back on as the new user and go back to the accounts. Select the user accounts you want to delete, then click Delete then Delete Immediately.

On both systems you’ll need to explore the hard drive to see if any applications have left data in other locations. Some programs, particularly accounting packages, have a habit of not storing data in the user folders.

Once you’ve deleted the data, you may want to ensure it’s securely deleted by running erasing software across the hard drives. Free programs include Eraser for Windows and Permanent Eraser for the Mac.

Remember to make sure any important data has been backed up before you do any of this.

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