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Strategies for wiping out file footprints without reformatting PC

Question:

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 them all.

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! Top

Answer:

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.

Note: Do not delete the Office Setup Files. Uncheck this option if it is selected. If you delete them, your successor will have trouble installing updates to Office.

2. If you use the Automatic Backup feature in programs such as Microsoft Word, use the Search tool to find all instances of Microsoft Word backup files. Select "All files and folders," then Local Hard Drives, and enter the following: *.wbk

Place your cursor in the Results window and press CTRL-A to highlight each file, then press Shift-DEL. This will delete the files entirely instead of simply moving them to the Recycle Bin. (Be sure that Word is not open when you do this, otherwise you won't be able to delete files that are currently in use.) Top

Repeat for any other program that creates backup files, using the appropriate extension. Also repeat this for TMP files, but be aware that most of them will be in use and not able to be deleted.

3--Open Start > Control Panel > Internet Options. (The assumes that you are using the Windows Classic interface. If not, drill down in the Control Panel options until you find this applet.) On the first page, under Temporary Internet files, delete the files and cookies. Under History, clear the History files and optionally change the number of days to 0.

One the Content page, under Personal Information, select Auto Complete and clear the forms and passwords.

On the Advanced page, under Security, select the option to clear the Temporary Internet Files cache when the browser is closed.

Select Apply to save your changes, then click OK.

4--Using Windows Explorer, open the folder "c:\documents and settings\your_user_name" and look through the various folders for things that you might to clean up. For example, you can clear out any cookies that might remain or remove shortcuts from your desktop that the new person would not need. You can also clear your Recent Documents list.

Be sure to open the Local Settings folder as well and check out the History, Temp, and Temporary Internet Files folders for things that the steps taken above did not catch. Top

5--I am assuming that you know the folders where your working files are stored and don't need any help finding them. The defaults are My Documents, My Pictures, and so forth. If you have a CD or DVD burner, you might want to archive these files to one or more blank discs.

6--As for your personal e-mail messages, if any, the best thing to do would be to delete them. You can forward any important ones to your personal e-mail address. Be aware that when you delete a message, however, your e-mail software may simply move it to a Trash or Deleted Items folder.

You'll have to find the option to empty these folders. Afterward, you should also compact your mailboxes to completely get rid of the deleted records in them.

7--Empty the Recycle Bin to catch anything that might have been moved to it instead of being deleted altogether.

8--Run Defrag. This will help to overwrite any traces of the files that you've deleted.

This may not cover everything but it should give you a good start. Top


The chips, called magnetoresistive random-access memory or MRAM, maintain information by relying on magnetic properties rather than an electrical charge. Unlike flash memory, which also can keep data without power, MRAM is fast to read and write bits, and doesn't degrade over time.

MRAM maakt gebruik van transistors en zogenaamde Magnetic Tunnel Junctions (MTJ). Een MTJ bestaat uit een isolerend laagje met aan beide zijden een electrode van magnetisch materiaal. Van de ene electrode is de polarisatie vastgesteld, terwijl de polarisatie van de andere electrode is te wijzigen. Wanneer beide electroden dezelfde polarisatie hebben kan door het tussenliggende laagje stroom vloeien. Een geleidende MTJ geldt als bit met waarde 1, terwijl een MTJ met grote weerstand een bit met waarde 0 voorstelt.

Freescale, which was spun off of Motorola Inc. in July 2004, said Monday it has been producing the 4-megabit (verpi: 512 kByte) MRAM chips at an Arizona factory for two months to build inventory. A number of chip makers have been pursuing the technology for a decade or more, including IBM Corp.

Ultimately, the technology could displace the RAM found in PCs, enabling systems that boot up immediately because data don't have to be reloaded into the memory chips. Top

The first markets for MRAM chips are likely to be in automotive and industrial settings, where durability is critical. Tehrani said they would also be suited for data-logging devices, such as airline black boxes that store data on aircraft performance and must be recoverable after a crash.

Texas Instruments Inc. and other companies are working with Colorado-based Ramtron International Corp. to develop higher-capacity chips using FRAM, or ferroelectric random-access memory. It also retains data in the absence of electricity.


28-7-06 Larry Allison (CEO ORACLE) Most tech leaders don't come out of a business background. They really have a very parochial point of view. All they know are the go-go years of Silicon Valley. That's the environment in which they were raised.

I'm an engineer-- tell me why something isn't working or is, and I'm curious.

Grid computing, we started working on 13 years ago; secure enterprise search.

Google has had one or two good ideas. Searching the Internet, right, and then selling ads. That's a complete list of everything clever they've ever done. Top


28-7-06 Intel chips 65 nanometers - small enough so that 100 transistors will fit into a single human blood cell. There are about 291 million transistors in each processor.

De desktopprocessoren hebben de naam Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 tot en met E6700, plus Core 2 Extreme X6800. De laatste is het topmodel uit de nieuwe serie en kost duizend dollar. De E6300 is met een prijs van 183 US dollar de goedkoopste desktop-chip. Overigens zijn alle desktop-chips voorzien van de Intel 64-technologie.


11-8-06 A move by I.B.M. to strengthen its position in the fast-growing market for so-called content management software. The market is thriving as companies struggle to find timely and useful nuggets of intelligence in the mountains of information stored not only in structured corporate databases, but increasingly in reports, e-mail archives, Web pages, video clips and podcasts. Top