How to Clean Personal Information Off of a Computer

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Cleaning personal information off of a computer can by done by manually deleting files under "My Documents," deleting temporary Internet files and deleting the browser history. Eliminate personal information from a computer with IT help from a software developer in this free video on computers.

Part of the Video Series: Computers & Laptops
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name's Dave Andrews. Today I'm going to show you how to clean your personal information off of a computer. Let's go to our desktop, and the first thing we're going to do is we're going to clear our internet browser cookies, and history, and any type of information we've typed into forms on the internet. Click on your 'Start' button. Let's open up 'Internet Explorer'. Now to clear your personal information within the Internet Explorer, let's go to 'Tools', and then 'Internet Options', and in the middle section here where it says 'Browsing History', let's click on 'Delete'. Now this brings up the option to delete your temporary internet files--which is basically a cache of the websites that you've gone to--your cookies, which is a copy of any information you might have typed into forms. The history is a list of websites that you've visited, and the form data is another way that it stores your usernames and your credit card numbers and things that you've typed into forms, and also any passwords that you've had your browser save. So I'm just going to click 'Delete All'. It's going to ask me if I'm sure, and I'm going to tell it to delete all files and settings that are stored by add-ons. Now this will get anything that any toolbars that you have installed may be storing about you as well. I'm going to check that and click on 'Yes'. So it's now going through and it's deleting all of my personal information out of the browser. Now, we have that done, let's click on the 'Start' button, and I'm going to pull up 'My Documents', as well. Now I only have a couple of folders here, but you may have things such as your personal budget, any personal pictures that you may have taken and stored here, and it's a good idea if you're going to be getting rid of this computer or giving it away, that you just delete those out of your document list. Hold down the 'Ctrl' button, and press the 'A' key, which means select all, and then just press the 'Delete' key. Now it's going to ask you if you want to move those two items to the recycle bin. I'm going to say no, because I don't want to delete my information here, but it will then clear this folder out--basically anything that you had here--and it will move it to the Recycle Bin, which is on your desktop. To permanently delete those files, right-click on your Recycle Bin, and then click on 'Empty Recycle Bin'. My name is Dave Andrews, and I've just showed you how to clear your personal information off of a computer.

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