Did you know that metadata within your files can tell a lot about you? For example, your digital camera records data about when a picture was taken and what camera was used. Your documents and spreadsheets contain details about who created them and your music files are tagged with artist and album information. And the list can go on and on. So, with all of that information widely known on your computer, it’s wise to clean them up a bit every once in awhile. That’s right, it’s time to give your Windows files a scrub down!

To “scrub” a file of unwanted metadata, simply follow these steps:

Open the file you want to clean in Windows Explorer.

Right click on the file’s icon and choose Properties. Or, with images, you can click in the image itself.

Under the Details tab, click Remove Properties and Personal Information.

That will then open the Remove Properties dialogue box:

At this point, you have two choices. The default option creates a copy of your file (using the original file name with the word “copy” appended to it) and removes all the properties it can change, based on the file type. Or, you can choose the second option, which selectively removes the properties from the file. If you see a checkbox next to a property, you can erase that property’s current content. If there’s no checkbox, the data is non-removable.

Make sure you use common sense when you’re making your choice. The second option zeroes out the metadata, but it does nothing with the contents of the file itself. Therefore, the first option may be your best bet. Just take some time to think about all the files you have on your computer and what sort of information they may contain. Then scrub them up as you deem necessary. That’s it!