The world we live in now is highly digital. It is inevitable for you to deal with tech gadgets in the course of your day because it is all over the place. And as such, we have also started to embrace more of these modern contraptions into our personal lives. Can you imagine going about your day without your handy and ever reliable smartphone that can do just about everything you’ll ever need for the day? The answer is probably no, right? But let us not forget what started it all – computers. Their presence enables mankind to shift from manual labor and consequently automated most of our tasks, so we have a lot to be thankful for their existence.
But just like any material object (especially a tech one) you have at home, school, work, or everywhere else, they are subject to normal wear and tear especially when misused or abused. Over time, your computer would need fixing or worse, a replacement. Other time, you simply just want to upgrade and buy that shiny new laptop or Mac you saw at the mall the other day. Sooner or later, you’ll have to say goodbye to your desktop or laptop but it’s not as simple as you think. There are data to be transferred and saved but do you know where to start?
Many families have welcomed new PCs into their homes, thanks to back-to-school and Labor Day sales, leaving older computers to be donated, recycled, or sold. That makes this a good time to learn how to perform a factory reset.
What is a factory reset? That’s when you wipe your computer’s hard drive and reinstall its operating system. Doing this reverts your computer to its pristine state, deleting all your personal information, applications, and files in the process.
Getting rid of a computer without performing a reset could put your data in the wrong hands—and you and your family at risk for identity theft.
Can’t I just delete the files? Matt Ham, owner of repair service company Computer Repair Doctor, explains that manually purging files isn’t enough.
The number of digital data/files you have saved on your device depends on how long you’ve been using it and how often you use it. You may save photos, songs, videos, movies, and most importantly, documents that mean the world to you. You also use your PC when browsing the web, accessing social media accounts, or when doing online banking, which means there is a big possibility you have saved sensitive login details and passwords on the device.
Step 4: Delete!
You’re now ready to delete the contents of the hard drive. Drag everything from your Documents, Pictures and Music folder into the Recycle Bin, then right-click on the Recycle Bin to delete its contents.
This alone won’t fully delete your PC’s contents, but will speed up the secure deletion process. For this, try the free Eraser tool – it overwrites deleted files several times so they cannot be recovered.
Install the Eraser software and select the files and folders you want to permanently erase. Be warned: it’s a time-consuming process. Remember to repeat the Eraser process for files on all the user accounts on your PC.
Cleaning up may be a hassle for many but it is a crucial step you should not miss out on when selling your old PC or laptop because there is the risk of you leaving behind important data that you don’t want others to see or gain access to. But before doing anything like a factory reset, make sure you back up all your data first before they are gone for good. If not, you may have to undergo the costly and painful process of data recovery that is dreaded by most computer users. You can either transfer these files to an external hard drive or up in the cloud for safe keeping. The cleanup process may vary, though, depending on operating system version, so also bear that in mind.