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Article Number: 000192008

How Do I Erase Data from My Hard Drive or Mobile Device before Trade-In?

Summary: This article provides information on how to erase data from hard drive or mobile device before you trade in your product.

Article Content


About Your Data

Dell does not have responsibility for any of the data you place on a hard drive or device you return to Dell; however, Dell endeavors to overwrite the data or, in some cases, destroy the hard drive.

Note: No data removal process leaves a hard drive or computer as free from residual data as a new product. Dell makes no recommendations regarding your security needs or representations regarding the effectiveness of one method of data removal over another.
Note: You are responsible for your data. Before you ship product(s) to us, back up the data on the hard drive(s) and any other storage device(s) in the product(s). Remove any confidential, proprietary or personal information. Remove any removable storage devices and media, such as CDs, PC cards, USB storage devices, and other removable storage. We are not responsible for any of your confidential, proprietary or personal information; lost or corrupted data; or damaged or lost removable media.

Erasing Data from Your Hard Drive

To erase data, it must be overwritten. This is commonly called wiping or shredding. The method used to erase data securely must be measured against the sensitivity of the data and the likelihood of an attempt to recover the data. Once you have decided how much protection you need, you are ready to select the application to perform the wipe. Many applications exist and are available as freeware, shareware or commercially available software. Dell does not endorse any one specifically or warrant any results. Be sure to compare the features with your requirements.

Reset your Dell computer using Windows Reset

Note: This is not a Dell factory image reset, this process reinstalls Windows operating system, removes all your personal files, removes apps and drivers you installed, removes any changes that are made to settings, and removes any apps that is installed. Be sure you have backed up your files  External_Link_Icon before beginning this task.
Warning: You should be able to Logon to Windows to complete the Windows Reset Process.

Windows 10 Reset
  1. Click Start start button, then type "reset."
  2. Select Reset this PC (System Setting).
  3. Under Reset this PC, select Get Started.
  4. Select the option to Remove everything Removes all of your personal files, apps and settings.
  5. Select Remove files and clean the drive.
  6. Review the information about the page, and click Reset to proceed further.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset process. This takes some time and your computer will restart. Depending on the type, size of disks, and configuration of the system, the process can take from an hour to a few hours.
Windows 8.1 / 8 Reset
  1. In desktop mode, press the key combination ‘Windows’ key and ‘ i ’.
  2. Select the option “Change PC Settings” from the menu on the left-hand side.
  3. Click on “Update & Recovery” and then on “Recovery”.
  4. Then select “Get started” under the heading “Remove everything and reinstall Windows”.
  5. The operating system will now be automatically reset to its factory settings. All of your data will be lost in the process.
Windows 7, Vista & XP
  1. Restart the computer. As the computer restarts, press the F8 key until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears on the screen.
    Note: You must press F8 before the Windows logo appears on the screen. If you press F8 after the Windows logo appears, the Advanced Boot Options menu does not appear on the screen. If you do not see the Advanced Boot Options menu, restart the computer, and try again
  2. Press the down arrowdown arrow to select Repair Your Computer on the Advanced Boot Options menu, and then press Enter.
  3. Specify the language settings that you want, and then click Next.
  4. Log in as a user who has administrative credentials, and then click OK.
  5. Click Dell Factory Image Restore. In the Dell Factory Image Restore window, click Next.
  6. Click to select the check box for Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition.
  7. Click Next. The computer is restored to the default factory configuration.
  8. When the restore operation is completed, click Finish to restart the computer.
Android Phones and Tablets

To remove all data from your Android phone or tablet, you can reset your phone to factory settings. Factory resets are also called “formatting” or “hard resets.” 3. On most phones, you can reset your phone through the Settings app

  • Factory reset your phone
    1. Ensure your device's battery is charged to at least 50% - It is recommended to keep your device plugged in while performing the reset.
    2. Remove any memory cards before resetting the device.
    3. Open Settings App on the Phone
    4. Check for option System, choose option Advanced
    5. Choose Erase All Data (Factory Reset) > Reset Phone. You may need to enter a password or PIN.
    The reset options are similar for most Android devices. We recommend checking your manufacturer's support site External_Link_Icon for device-specific instructions to reset your Device.
Apple Phones and iPad
  • Erase all content and settings from iPhone
    1. Go to Settings > General > Reset.
      If you’re asked to enter your passcode and you’ve forgotten it, see Reset the passcode External_Link_Icon. If you’re asked to enter your Apple ID password and you’ve forgotten it, see the Recover your Apple ID website External_Link_Icon.
    2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings
    3. When iPhone restarts with all content and settings would be erased

Article Properties

Affected Product

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops, Tablets

Last Published Date

29 Sep 2021



Article Type

How To