You tend to find a desktop computer in the home for years because they can easily be fixed or upgraded when they begin to slow down.
Laptops, however, are limited in upgradeability and are often passed to another family member or sold. Once they reach this stage, there could be the potential of having some quite sensitive data still on the hard disk.
Thus, many individuals are not sure how to wipe a laptop to ensure no personal information remains on the device. (Read What To Do With A Old Laptop)
In our guide, you can learn how to remove everything and reinstall Windows 10 or how to reset Windows 10 to factory state and get rid of any traces of your personal files.
How Do You Wipe a Computer to Sell It?
Many families welcome new PCs no matter the reason, such as back-to-school and annual sales. It leaves older laptop computers to be donated, recycled, or sold.
For this reason, anyone in this position ought to learn how to reset Windows 10 laptop via a factory reset.
A factory reset is where you wipe your laptops hard drive and reinstall its operating system. Doing so puts your laptop back to a clean state concerning the OS. In doing so, it can be set to delete all personal information, apps, and files.
If you get rid of a laptop without doing so, you never know who could get your data. You will learn that deleting files isn’t enough, as these can be recovered.
Before doing anything, make sure you backup all your files to an external hard drive or the cloud before carrying out a factory reset.
The resetting steps differ between Windows versions, such as Windows 7. Windows 8 is the closest to Windows 10, as there were not many changes.
- Go to the Start Menu and click on Settings.
- Navigate to Update & Security,
- Locate Recovery on the left menu bar
- Select Reset this PC and click Get Started.
- Follow on-screen instructions to put your computer back to the original state
In the process, it asks you to choose if you want to erase data ‘quickly’ or ‘thoroughly.’ Select the ‘thorough’ option. It will take longer, yet it makes sure your data is deleted properly.
Will a Factory Reset Remove All Data from Laptop?
Before selling, donating, or recycling an old laptop, you should always be cautious of handing over anything that could have personal information stored on it.
While a factory reset is the easiest way to get rid of data quickly, many users don’t know this doesn’t delete data forever, and neither will formatting your hard drive before you reinstall an OS.
To ensure data is unreadable, you need to use secure-erase software such as DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) disk wiping software for Windows.
While there is a free, open-source version, this one cannot detect SSDs or guarantee your drive is clear. The paid version is more for enterprise-level data erasure.
SDelete is another option. With this, you run the app from the command line. It is free, and it is also a Microsoft Product via SysInternals. It will also run on Windows, 8, Windows 7, or any old computer you wish to remove personal data. (Read How To Speed Up A Old Computer)
How Do I Completely Wipe My Laptop?
When you begin to look at how to reset Windows 10 laptop, there are a few other things to go into the process.
Here’s all you need to erase your system device and keep your files safe before you take the first step and choose the option to restore your laptop to its original state.
There are changes, such as My Computer in Windows 10, now called MY PC, so what you may remember from Windows 7 may be a touch out of date.
You want to make sure you backup all your files before you start the process and dive into the steps and settings you need to select to remove everything from your Windows laptop disk and restore Windows to a vanilla state.
If you don’t have an external hard drive for your data backup, you can use Microsoft OneDrive. (Steps not available for Windows 7)
- Open File Explorer
- Locate the documents folder you need to backup
- Select any files and folders
- Click the Move to button from the “Home” tab
- Click the Choose location option
- Select your OneDrive folder
- Click the Move button.
OneDrive will upload your files to the cloud before you reinstall Windows. You will have them accessible across devices. Windows 10 now comes with a OneDrive update, security, recovery feature that makes things automatic.
How Do You Delete Everything Off Your Computer?
You can go through the above steps to wipe your computer’s hard drive after backup everything from your system. Yet, it can be possible for some individuals to access data on your laptop device disk that you thought was gone forever.
A computer drive needs to be overwritten several times before a backup can recover any deleted data. For the utmost in security, never only rely on a reset to wipe your system data.
Besides this, there is the case of transferring large numbers of files to OneDrive or other Cloud storage and how to do so safely. A VPN is one of the best additions from your computer to get files to One-Drive. (Read our No. 1 Recommended ExpressVPN Review)
They use encryption that is the same as the military, and no backup or restore software could break through this.
It takes a click or two to download the app after signing up, and then you have instant protection for all your computer and its drive, not just browsing.
Every new step you take to change your settings and restore your OS and a VPN can keep you secure. Just be sure that it is the first app you install on your new laptop.