• How to: wipe your computer of data

    Date:14 November 2019 Author: Leila Stein

    If you’ve recently got a new computer or are planning to move onto a new machine, it’s important to know how to effectively wipe your old laptop of your personal information before selling, donating or recycling it. Here is how to make sure you’re not handing over intimate details:

    Back it up

    Before wiping clean, make sure you have everything you want from the computer first.

    Either back-up all your important information to an external hard drive, your new computer or a web service like Dropbox, Google Chrome or iCloud.

    It is likely that you’ve been doing this regularly anyways, as many laptops already backup to a cloud service. Backing up to the cloud is your best option as there is always the possibility that hard drives could crash.

    Keep your passwords and keychains

    If you don’t want to go through multiple “forgotten passwords” processes, it’s important to either write down or save your passwords to a third-party password application such as Last Pass.

    If you have any software you will need to re-install on your new computer, keep the keychains as these will be removed once you do the factory reset.

    Factory reset

    How To Factory Reset a Mac

    1. Log out of all services that you use.
    2. Keep your laptop plugged in to power source.
    3. Restart in Recovery Mode: Click  and choose Restart. When the computer shuts off and powers back on, hold Command + R until you see the Apple logo.
    4. You won’t see your usual login page, anymore, but instead will see a “macOS Utilities” window.
      1. Choose disk utility > continue.
      2. Choose the correct startup disc and select erase.
      3. Choose MacOS Extended (Journaled) as the format.
      4. Click erase
      5. Wait until the process finishes, then go to the Disk Utility menu > quit.
    5. You can re-install MacOS or leave it to the person buying your laptop.

    How To Factory Reset a PC

    1. Log out of all services that you use.
    2. Keep your laptop plugged in to a power source.
    3. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. You should see a title that says “Reset this PC.” Click Get Started.
    4. You can either select Keep my files or Remove everything. The former resets your options to default and removes uninstalled apps, like browsers, but keeps your data intact. The latter, as its name suggests, will delete your files. In either case, back up your files in case something goes awry.
    5. Use the Fresh Start option in Windows 10: Settings > Update & Security > Recovery page, Then, click the link text “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows at the bottom. That opens a Windows Defender Security Center window to the Fresh Start option. Click Get started.

    Image: Unsplash

    You may also like: