July 7, 2006
Dear CNET members,
This past week, we received many helpful answers to Lorraine's question on the best strategy for deleting the redundant backup files that Windows saves, Internet cookies, and so on, without reformatting the hard drive. And I just wanted you to know, Lorraine, that you're doing a good deed by not leaving a whole bunch of personal fluff for the next employee to sift through once they start using your computer. Our members' answers this week included recommending that Lorraine's company's IT staff wipe clean her hard drive before handing off the computer to the next person and using specific third-party utilities to permanently wipe unwanted data out of her machine. While those are all great suggestions, we don't know what sort of IT staff Lorraine's company has, nor do we know what her company's policy is on installing third-party software on work computers (she may not even have administrative permissions to install anything on her machine). So while I did include all of those great member recommendations in this week's discussion thread, I'll start Lorraine off with this week's winning answer by Robert, who gives her some detailed steps outlining what she can do to clean out her system without having to rely on anyone or anything else. And Lorraine, if the winning answer isn't sufficient, please check out all the other answers from our members. Good luck with everything! Thank you all for your participation! Have a great weekend!
Member Question of the Week
Hi CNETers, I am changing jobs soon and want to leave my computer as clean as possible. Since I have been periodically deleting my cookies and temp files, I have found that Windows stores things in multiple and confusing locations. I don't know how many different folders I have found just TMP files in; it is time consuming to sift through
So I want to know: after I delete all my personal fluff, what is the best strategy for deleting the redundant backup files that Windows saves, Internet cookies, and so on without massive destruction? It is not my computer, so reformatting is not an option. I have nothing illegal, incriminating, or even embarrassing, and my replacement will need most of the files that are on my computer, including most of my Internet bookmarks. What they will not need are things like confidential work I have done for the HR department, my babbling notes to self, or Internet search history when I check my personal e-mail. When I started data mining on this PC, I found the person I replaced left a lot of non-work-related fodder to sift though, so I don't want to do the same. Thanks!
Lorraine W. of Lafayette, California
Before you perform any of the steps listed below, open My Computer or Control Panel and make sure that your View options are set to show you hidden and system files and folders and to not hide extensions of known file types.
1. Select Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disc Cleanup. Select the drive that you want to clean up. After the tool scans your drive, accept the default selections. This will get rid of at least most of the TMP and temporary Internet files. If you have more than one drive or partition, repeat this for all of them...
Robert S. of Sterling, Virginia
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Check out next week's question:
I have a Dell Dimension XPS running at 750MHz, with 512MB of RAM, and a 37GB SATA hard drive. I have Windows XP and use a LaCie 80GB external hard drive for storage. I have antivirus and antispyware apps and a firewall that I update regularly. The computer became very sluggish, and I decided to reformat the hard drive. I was advised to pull the USB 2.0 cable of the external hard drive from the computer before reformatting, which I did. After the reformatting process, the computer runs fine. However, it does not recognize the LaCie external hard drive, yet the button indicating power is on and lighted, and I can feel the drive spinning. I tried the external hard drive on different computers, again it is not recognized. My questions are:
1. What went so wrong?
2. Can this be avoided in the future?
3. How can I retrieve the data on that external drive?
I hope somebody can help. Thank you.
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