I have decided to resign from a very small software company, we don't have HR, IT or any of the departments that usually take care of this messy process.

I want to make sure that I leave no personal information in the pc I used and also make sure it's in decent condition for the next user. I have never accessed confidential information from the office, but I have accessed my stackoverflow account and things like that. What should I go about doing assuming the computer will be left untouched until the next guy comes along? Should I uninstall programming softwares like Mysql workbench, Zend server, that were pertinent to the job but I have installed?

  • 2
    I suggest you just clear your browser profiles, cookies, leave any applications that you used that the next person will use. Have you asked your supervisor for guidenance in this matter?
    – Donald
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 19:14
  • 1
    Thanks Ramhound. My boss mentioned they will clear out any files that are saved on the server and leave the computer as is.
    – Ana
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 19:19
  • 3
    why can't you just delete all your cookies, browser history, and other sensitive data? problem solved
    – amphibient
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


Unless you are using a very old operating system (and by old I mean older than Windows XP/2000), then deleting your user account should take care of the bulk of removing personal things. There may be leftovers if you ever saved files in folders outside those of your user account.

In Windows, removing a user account will delete the folder where all modern browsers keep cookies, profiles and what they call local storage, as well as their cache for that user. Remove the user account by using the Control Panel, not by directly deleting your user folder. Otherwise the system may get unstable.

As for leaving software or not, talk to your boss about whether the system will be reused by the next guy to come along, and how. I personally like my personnel to work with clean, pristine installations of the OS, so I would format the machine, reinstall the OS and install the necessary software again from scratch with an admin account, as a courtesy - or have someone else do that for me. But your boss's opinion may be different on that. He or she might want you to spend your last day on the job doing something else, for example, thinking that preparing the environment for the next guy is a waste of time (I disagree with that point of view, but I've worked with people who think like that).

  • 1
    I know this answer is years old, but as-is, it leaves the user's data vulnerable to being trivially undeleted. Use something like sdelete: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd334519.aspx
    – tomfanning
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 20:34
  • @tomfanning: it leaves the user's data vulnerable to being trivially undeleted. It depends on the drive. If this is a machine with SSDs then it is generally not possible.
    – WoJ
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 6:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .