PC Clean up?

By Doctor Gallop · 4 replies
Jan 4, 2014
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  1. I am giving my old Windows XP to someone that needs a computer.
    Is there a freeware program that I can use to clean up / delete my history and files before I give the PC to them? I would feel better knowing for sure that all my info was erased.
  2. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I think it is best to completely clean install Windows. This will erase your settings and all of your information by basically wiping the hard drive and completely reinstalling the OS. I am not too familiar with the clean install process for Windows XP, but I found this help article online. If you want to upgrade (and clean install) the PC to Windows 7 and 8 (recommended), you can follow these directions from Microsoft. I recommend upgrading the PC to Windows 7 or 8 since it may speed up the PC and the clean install process is probably easier (I would expect so since the Windows 7 and 8 installer is easy to use).

    Keep in mind, in order to clean install, you will need the Windows XP ISO ready and burned to a disc along with the product key (usually located somewhere on the chassis of the PC). If you want Windows 7 or Windows 8, the discs and keys are usually sold for about $80 to $100.
  3. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    How old is the computer and what is its specs? As far as putting $ 100 in it for windows update to win 7. Its more or less not worth it. If you have its recovery disk. Just reinstall the os. Some computers around 2005 on up .With win xp have recovery partitions. You could just do a factory reinstall .Which would set it back to the day you bought it.
  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Yeah, true. Putting $100 into a PC that you are giving away may not be the best option.
    Cobalt006 likes this.
  5. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    If you don’t want to do a system reinstall, just meticulously delete all your data files (and uninstall any programs you don’t want to pass on). Then run the free CCleaner, selecting all cleaning options. Finally, overwrite the empty disk spaces using CCleaner again. Overwriting is under Tools.

    Note that if you don’t overwrite the deleted data, it can be recovered, even after reformatting.

    For thorough cleaning, e.g. prior to reinstall if necessary, probably the best tool is the also free Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN).

    Be very careful what you select for deletion with DBAN, as there’s no return and you can be left without a system.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
    Jad Chaar and Cobalt006 like this.

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