If you are getting rid of your old computer and you still have your personal information saved on it, never forget to format your hard drive. The importance of purging your entire hard drive before giving it away is to reduce the possibility of it being placed in the wrong hands. This could lead to your personal or any other sensitive information being exposed.
When a file is deleted on your computer, it still remains on the computer and the old data can be recovered by an expert. Purging your hard drive comes into play especially if you are thinking of giving away your PC to a stranger, but if you’re giving it to a family member or a trusted colleague, then this is not necessary and a simple deletion of unnecessary files is adequate. But there are still chances of a trusted person unknowingly disposing of the computer without reformatting the drive.
Reformatting the hard drive
One of the simplest ways to reformat your hard drive is to reinstall a new operating system. If you already have a copy of Windows XP or Vista, you can simply pop the disk in the CD/DVD ROM after turning off the PC and letting it boot from the disk. You are then given an option to format the disk as it installs the new operating system.
Another method is to create a boot disk by going online to www.bootdisk.com, downloading the DOS file that is compatible with your Operating System, saving it to a floppy and then booting your PC from the floppy.
If this is too complicated for you or if you are not tech savvy, you can merely remove the hard drive from the PC (make sure that you touch the PC’s metal case before doing so or you might damage the motherboard as a result of the circuits getting damaged from static caused) and then shuttering the hard rive until it is completely ruined.
On the other hand, if you do not intend on giving away your PC and simply want to free up some space on your hard drive, here’s how to remove unnecessary files and documents.
Click on accessories, system tools then disk clean up. Delete documents and files that you no longer need and empty the recycle bin after wards. You can also uninstall unwanted applications that are taking up too much space by going into the control panel, clicking on add/remove software and then select the software you want to uninstall. Delete temporary internet files first by going to tools, clicking on options and click on the “Delete cookies” and “Delete Files” buttons and then on “Clear History”. This does not remove all the temporary internet files. In order to do this you need to go to C:Users<username>AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet Files if you have Windows Vista and C:Documents and Settings<username>Local SettingsTemporary Internet Files if you have Windows XP and 2000.