How to Delete Personal Files from a Computer Without Deleting Programs

When you need a fresh start

Whether you’re selling a computer, or just want to clear everything off, deleting your data without deleting your programs is snap! No need to reformat your computer back to the factory settings.


(For Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7,Windows Vista, and Windows XP)

Go to your start menu, control panel, user accounts, and create a new account with administrator rights. Then log out/ sign out of your current account, and log in with the new one. Once you’re in the new account, go to your start menu, control panel, user accounts, and delete the old account. Make sure to check the box that asks if you want to delete all of the old existing files. And Voila! New account, old files gone, programs stay!


(For OSX 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6)

Go to your apple menu, go to system preferences, user account, create a new account with administrator rights by clicking on the (+) symbol. Then log out of your account. Log into the new account that was just created. The navigate to the Apple menu, system preferences, user accounts, select the old account, and click on the (-) symbol to delete the old account. Once the old account is deleted, you’ll have all of your programs intact and none of the files.


Files never really go away on a computer. Most files, even if deleted or formatted can be recovered with a data recovery program. If you’re concerned about the integrity of your information, you’ll need to replace the hard drive completely and physically destroy the old one.

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