Computer Help forum

General discussion

Best secure way to erase personal information on Windows XP?

I would like to donate our old computer but before doing so I want to delete all of my documents and any personal information on the computer. What is the safest and quickest way to accomplish this while keeping the existing software in tact? If this is not possible, how does one securely wipe out the entire hard drive?
Thank you,
A charitable computer user!

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Best secure way to erase personal information on Windows XP?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Best secure way to erase personal information on Windows XP?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Can't be done

It can't be done. There's no secure way to donate a computer short of removing the hard drive. The next best thing would be to use a secure formatting system to wipe the drive clean with a program like DBAN, and after that, there's just no way to ensure any reasonable degree of security.

Collapse -
Sorry no.

In reply to: Best secure way to erase personal information on Windows XP?

There is no assured way to remove all that and leave the OS in one operation.

Just wipe the drive with DBAN and don't bother reinstalling the OS. It's a gift so make it so and make it safe.


Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


This one tip will help you sleep better tonight

A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.