Wiping your Mobile Windows Data 3/3
Are you looking to get rid of your old device? You don’t want all those selfies of you and your cat sitting alone on a Friday night falling into the wrong hands. Keep in mind, short of completely destroying your device, there is no 100% foolproof way to completely get rid of your data. With the right tools and a lot of moxy, someone who really wants to see you recent browser history can get that information. But there are steps you can take to significantly decrease the chances of that happening.
Currently there are 3 main mobile operating systems out there (yes, we are even including Windows phones). We’ll take you step by step on how to successfully protect all of your precious and sensitive data from lingering on your device when you go to get rid of it in this 3 part series.
- Make sure you backup everything, even your contacts. There are several apps that can do this for you, but the easiest way is to plug your device into your computer and transfer all of you things over to your PC or Mac.
- Remove your SIM card and any external SD cards you have.
- Logout of all of your email & social media accounts. Make sure you sign out of any applications that you had to separately sign into as well.
- It helps to write down the serial number of your device for your records, just in case.
Windows Phone doesn’t offer encryption for personal customers, only for businesses. The best way to wipe a Windows Phone 7, 8, 8.1, or Windows 10 Mobile device is to perform a factory reset and then load dummy data to overwrite any lingering evidence of the original data.
- Start the reset process.
- Go to Settings
- Reset Your Phone
- Confirm the action and then wait for the phone to wipe
- Preparing Data Load from PC.
- Connect the phone to a PC with a usb cord
- Open My Computer
- Preparing Data Load from Mac.
- Download the Windows Phone app
- Find the phone, which should show up as a removable device
- Open it
- Loading Dummy Data onto phone.
- Drag and drop from another folder
- Don’t use your personal photos or documents here
- Choose files that contain no identifiable metadata that could be traced back to you, such as video or music files
- Fill the phone with as much dummy data as possible.
- Reset the phone again using the same method as in step 1
- Repeat the dummy data load a few more times to ensure all of your original data is overwritten
- Perform a final reset.
- Log in to your Microsoft account at account.microsoft.com/devices and find the phone you just wiped
- Remove it from your account
- Once the wipe is complete, revoke access to the phone from services such as Facebook and Google.
- To remove devices from your Google account, head to myaccount.google.com
- click on Sign-in & security
- Device activity & notifications
- Find the model you have wiped
Not planning to sell your device:
Completely destroy your device to eradicate all possible attempts at recovering your data. This is the safest and only way to truly prevent your data from being recovered by the most evil of Hollywood style hackers determined to ruin your life by retweeting all of those unfiltered bathroom selfies that never got posted.
- Locate a drill
- Drill into the screen of your phone until reaching through the backside
- Put your device into a bag
- Seal the bag completely
- Obtain a sledgehammer from your local hardware store
- Smash your device into pieces
- Take the remaining pieces and put them into an industrial-strength grinder which will obliterate your device into dust
- Put that dust into an Urn
- Put the Urn on your mantle so you can pay homage to the device that once served you so well
- Send Holiday Cards to friends with pictures of you and the Urn every chance you get
- Use your new device to do this, as your old device probably won’t take very good selfies anymore if you followed these instructions properly.
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