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I'm leaving my current job and want to remove my personal data from the Windows computer I was using. The way I want to do this is to remove my user from the system and erase my directory under c:\Document and Settings.

Is this sufficient? Are there any alternative tools that can do such job?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If the company has taken any backups or you have copies on other machines, you may be in trouble.

If you are only concerned with files on just your machine, and you have the ability to install programs, I would take a look at Fileshredder, it should be able to delete the files and make them non-recoverable.

Sysinternal also do a command line tool, called sdelete

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real smooth ;) –  John T Sep 18 '09 at 20:22
    
I wrote the Sysinternals one without the name, then I looked at the sysinternals site and posted it - not hiding anything - you got there first! –  William Hilsum Sep 18 '09 at 20:25

Check your contract! You might be in breech if you delete any data from that system! (Especially if you weren't supposed to have any personal data on it.)

In general, you don't have any personal information on a computer owned by your employer. Technically, it's their personal information. (And they probably already have a copy of it.)

Contact your administrator and ask him -politely- to remove all this personal data for you. Then you will also learn if company policy would even allow this! (Bring him a cup of coffee first to get them in a good mood.)

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You could get into trouble even if you are leaving if you touch anything on the machine. –  user10547 Sep 18 '09 at 21:10

I'd usually recommend DBAN, but since it's only for a single directory, you can use Sysinternals SDelete:

SDelete is a secure delete application that can overwrite a disk's unused or unallocated space, or securely delete existing files. It implements the US Department of Defense clearing standard DOD 5220.22-M, and you can specify the number of overwrite passes it makes. It can also wipe Windows NT/2K compressed, encrypted and sparse files (it uses Windows defragmentation API to accomplish this), and clears the NTFS Master File Table (MFT). (It does not delete the filenames of your files in the free disk space though - apparently it is not possible to do this in NT/2K.) This program comes with source code and works under Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. It is a command line utility.

there is also FreeEraser for a GUI approach.

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Eraser is my personal favorite (and it's free):

Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

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