How to remove personal data?
This page is going to share how to remove personal data, both the remote data and local data. Remote data from the internet, like cloud services, browser histories, saved login names passwords, social networks posts, and others you have left traces on. Local data can be data stored on internal and external hard drives, SSDs, or flash memories like USB, SD cards, micro or regular, CD, DVD or other removable disks.
That means to erase everything online and offline, so before you step into the following guides, reconsider what drives you to do so, is it the cyber-attack or cyber-stalker? Is it the bad mood drives you to delete everything about yourself or the records you had with others? Is it just because the hard drive you're using now is old and broken and then you want to make it clean before donate?
It's your decision to delete everything from the internet or (and) from the local disk, we have only one note for this operation: What's done cannot be undone.
We'll deal with how to remove personal data from the internet first, 'cause that's already a ranked well page in Wikihow tutorials, so I just sum up the main points and here they're:
1. Deactivate the accounts in Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Fickr, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Paypal, and eBay;
2. Close your personal sites like Blogs, groups, forum posts and articles.
3. Check if your phone number is listed online, if so, contact them and ask them to remove the details.
4. Cancel all mailing lists, unsubscribe what you've followed.
5. Delete search engine returns that feature you. You can specify not to return featured result in some browser, but it's better to contact them directly to rest assured. Search engine you can refer to: Google, Yahoo, Yahoo People Search, Bing, BingChat(recently released, don't know if they record the conversation), White Pages, US Search, Intelius, Acxiom, People Finder, Zaba Search, DuckDuckGo (they don't follow you, but will still return recommended search result).
6. Cancel email accounts, Gmail, Hotmail or other free email service providers.
7. Clear Browsers' histories, saved login names and passwords.
8. Shrug off what you can't remove. You can read from the below link we provided.
Wikihow's how to delete yourself from the internet also gave us many tips and warnings, you can read more here. I didn't exactly quoted the original contents, but have added or modified some to be more accurate or closer to the purpose.
That's how to remove online personal data, most of which can be done through your phone, iphone or android, like facebook, Gmail or other apps. You can then even reset the phone and erase all data on it and then set it to factory settings afterward.
Phones and online info are all cleaned, now we can deal with data on local disks, like the desktop, laptop or notebook hard drives.
Remove local disk personal data
To do such things, we cannot rely only on the Windows delete function or Mac's throw it to trash, let alone the format function.
For Windows Users, we can download third party data sanitization software ByebyeData Eraser to erase everything on the computer including the operating system with the following steps:
- Install the program and Run it as administrator.
- Click the Entire disk option to erase all the non-system disks first if you have more than one disk connected to the computer, then click Erase Now and confirm.
- Now we click on the Bootable media tab and browse a path to store the ISO file, then click Create. Insert a USB drive and burn the ISO file to it (You may need a tool to burn; Rufus is the portable utility we're using).
- Reboot from USB and click the Entire disk tab again in the WinPE ByebyeData Eraser window.
- Click Disk 0 or the boot disk and specify a wiping method, then click Erase Now and Confirm.
1 When you erase the entire disk in WinPE system, the operating system is erased too and it cannot be recovered, any OEM recovery shortcuts or settings will fail too, so if you want to reinstall the system, please prepare a Windows set up disc or burn the official Windows OS ISO to a USB too.
2 For Windows 10 and Windows 8 Users, you can always use the Reset this PC function to erase personal settings and files while at the mean time to keep Windows clean. But if your company needs a DoD 5220.22-M international standards, you can turn to ByebyeData Eraser at any time.
The aforementioned steps are about how to wipe everything off a Windows computer. How about the mac OS, how to wipe Mac hard drive?
Remove personal Mac hard drive data.
Steps to erase data on a Mac hard drive:
- Start the Mac and holding Option + Command + R to run the Recovery mode.
- In the macOS Utilities, we click Disk Utility and click on the Internal storage disk. (Macintosh HD or Apple SSD)
- Click Erase and choose a format option to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and the Scheme to GUID Partition Map, then click Erase.
Then you're guided to reinstall the system when Wifi is available.