Can you help me clean my laptop and transfer files before donating it to charity?

Todd B August 18, 2013
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I need to clear my computer of personal, important, and sensitive information. It is being donated to charity. I would like to save some, but not all files and information. The system probably could use a bit of a tune-up as well. All saved information, programs and files need to be transferred to another new laptop.

Can anyone walk me through this in non-technical/beginner friendly or direct me to a resource or website to accomplish this.

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  1. Paul P
    August 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    A disk wiping utility has been programmed into all disks since 2001. It, "sanitizes" the data meaning it gets rid of it for all practical purposes short of an electron microscope and even then using such an instrument recovers practically nothing. It does this on one pass through the disk.

    You can evoke the app with this freeware: http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/Secure-Erase.html. I would do it and then reinstall Windows.

  2. Apoorva J
    August 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    You can do this in 3 easy steps: Back up, Clean, and Reset

    1) Back up all your important data in an external hard drive or if there's not too much, then i recommend cloud based storage services such as 'Dropbox' https://www.dropbox.com/

    2) Do a quick clean up with CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

    3) Do a 'Factory reset' - this restores your laptop to the state it was before you personalized it i.e back to square one. Now, this may differ based on your OS and the laptop model so just perform a quick google/youtube search on 'How to factory reset *insert laptop model*'

    Here are some links for a select few:

    >>Dell :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHX_UF0qbZo
    >>HP:
    http://www.ehow.com/video_4950884_restore-hp-computer-factory-settings.html#ixzz21fFZJxnr
    >>Lenovo:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7G93cWDVqo
    >>Acer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpSSOkp1fYE

    Precautions: Keep your laptop charged while performing these steps and make sure you have the installation CD's for any important softwares that you installed after you got your laptop such as Microsoft Office.

    Hope this helped ^^

  3. Adeel A
    August 19, 2013 at 4:06 am

    i would say wipe your hard drive by some professional tools as you say it has your personal, important, and sensitive information because it can still be recovered after factory reset, delete or format and install the new os in it or put the new hdd in it and use your old one as external hdd.

  4. Susendeep D
    August 18, 2013 at 11:59 am

    You can transfer your data from old laptop to new ones using Windows easy transfer.

    More simple methods for all Windows OS are mentioned in the link below -

    http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Back_Up_Your_Data_on_a_Windows_PC

  5. Hovsep A
    August 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

    you can backup the sensitive files to external hard drive. Then do factory recovery of laptop When you switches on laptop, hold down F10 (or different key depending the laptop) repeatedly you will access factory recovery screen. This will delete all files and windows will be reinstalled and reactivated.

    then you can wipe free space with CCLeaner
    Wiping free disk space
    http://www.piriform.com/docs/ccleaner/using-ccleaner/wiping-free-disk-space

    for tune UP you can carry with CCLeaner, defrag hard drive also

    reset windows 8 this works like factory recovery i think you need to reactivate windows 8 or you can do refresh option only installed programs will be uninstalled all files remain intacted.
    The Windows 8 Guide
    http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/getting-started-your-guide-to-windows-8