Clean up question

By Doctor Gallop
Feb 16, 2011
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  1. Hello peoples,
    I am running a desktop Windows XP and need to know how to erase all of my data and then save it for my new compter.
    I want to give this old computer to a friend, but minus all my personal info.
    Can someone explain to me how to do this in "laymans" terms.
    thank you.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    Assuming you wish to let the system still be operational when you hand it over,
    the process outline is:
    1. Save what you want to keep
    2. Cleanup your Identity
    3. destroy all bookmarks and cookies
    4. create a new user login and give it the Admin authority (for the new user)
    5. delete your logon ID
    (1) unless you took direct actions to create folders in c:\ - -
    your personal folders & files are in %userprofile%\*
    {eg \Documents and Settings\yourLoginId\*}
    There are several means to save this data, incluing the Migration Wizard (if your new systems is available immediately), or a backup of that folder to some external media.

    (2) Go to and download the IdentityFinder utility.
    When you run it, it will discover all places where login/passwords are stored and offer to clean those up :)

    (3) For every browser installed, use the Tools (or sometimes the Options) to
    a) delete all cookies
    b) manage Bookmarks where you can delete them all

    (4) Use the Control Panel -> User Accounts to create the new ID, set Admin
    but leave it w/o a password

    (5) To delete your EXISTING login;
    Login to the NEW account, use Control Panel -> User Accounts
    and delete the EXISTING login that you were using. Allow the system to delete all user files.
    CAVEAT EMPTOR: DO NOT DELETE the account shown as Administrator!
    If that was the account you were using daily - - - grrr, we'll have to do major surgery :(
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    there are many free "wipe" programs out there that will completely erase your hard drive. Formatting a drive doesn't make it unreadable. It needs to be wiped.

    here's one you can try:

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