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Securely Erasing Data on Your Device Before Trade In or Recycle

Summary: Securely erase data from your device before Trade In or Recycle by following our step-by-step instructions for Windows, Android, and Apple devices.

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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, sometimes, 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 products to us, back up the data on the hard drives and any other storage devices in the products. Remove any confidential, proprietary, or personal information. Remove any removable storage devices and media, such as CDs, personal computer 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.

It is important to erase your device before a Trade In or Recycle as the device may contain personal and sensitive information that can be accessed or recovered by a third party. If the data is not erased, there could be a reduction in the Trade In or Recycle value. Once the device is received at our Trade In or Recycle processing center, the device and associated drives are thoroughly sanitized of all data. Dell will not be responsible for any of your confidential, proprietary, or personal information; lost or corrupted data; or damaged or lost removable media.

Reset your Dell computer using Windows Reset

Note: This is not a Dell factory image reset, this process reinstalls the 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 are installed. Be sure you have backed up your files This hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies. before beginning this task.
Warning: You should be able to Logon to Windows to complete the Windows Reset Process.

Windows 11 or Windows 10 Reset
  1. Click Start start button, then type reset.
  2. Select Reset this personal computer (System Setting).
  3. Under Reset this personal computer, select Get Started.
  4. Select the option to Remove everything to remove all 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 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 your data will be lost in the process.
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 siteThis hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies. 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 are asked to enter your passcode and you have forgotten it, see Reset the passcodeThis hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies.. If you are asked to enter your Apple ID password and you have forgotten it, see the Recover your Apple ID websiteThis hyperlink is taking you to a website outside of Dell Technologies..
    2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
    3. When the iPhone restarts, all content and settings would be erased.

Additional Information

Article Properties

Affected Product

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops, Tablets

Last Published Date

31 Oct 2023



Article Type

How To