Ever heard of metadata? It’s data about data. Seriously. And it’s easy to understand. They contain plenty of information about a file, which makes it easier to find important data such as description, origin, dates, and more. They are the building blocks of digital curation – a file may be irretrievable and untraceable without it when classifying, indexing or linking it to other related resources.
However, disclosure of metadata of top-secret files exploits the privacy of the owner, revealing all his information that can be traced and accessed by stalkers, hackers or cybercriminals. If you are paranoid about your privacy, here is how you can remove Windows 8 metadata.
What’s written in a metadata?
Depending on the file type, you can see all the data related to an image, for example. This includes the data of when the photo was taken, the owner of the camera, camera model, camera settings such as ISO speed, focal length, and more. Anyone who’s obsessed with data would happily feast his eyes with a flashy smile in front of the screen.
Metadata also includes:
- Information about the documents and spreadsheets such as the author, how much time spent on editing, who modified or reviewed it and so forth.
- Music files containing the name of composer, audio type, year of release, etc.
- Most programs create a metadata once you start working on a file (e.g. Microsoft Word), and you can also create metadata, which I will show you below.
If you want to get rid of them, here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Launch the “File Explorer” and right-click the file you want to modify.
2. Click “Properties.”
The dialog box shows three tabs – choose the “Details” tab. A screen pops up and shows the metadata of the file.
3. Click the “Remove Properties and Personal Information” and wait for the dialog box to appear.
4. See the list of metadata you want to remove. Check the boxes and click OK or click the “Select All” to remove everything. You may create a backup of the metadata by creating a copy of the document – the original and the removed metadata file.
5. Click OK and Apply.
Create new or edit existing metadata
Frankly, it can be a tedious task to delete the metadata one file at a time. However, there’s a way to remove multiple items at once, but they must have common metadata in them. Logically, it’s best to create a folder for images, music, and documents if you want to apply this hack. Assuming the files have similar metadata, select all (or Shift + Arrow for a few multiple files), then right-click and apply the six above-mentioned steps.
You can also create new and edit existing metadata as I’ve mentioned earlier. Just right-click the file(s), click Properties and the dialog box pops up. Choose the Details tab and scroll down the information you want to add or edit.
Note: If privacy is a top-priority, you can remove all the elements of the metadata for a clean slate. But there are some metadata that can’t be changed such as the recent date a file was printed.
After experimenting on this hack, I find it very useful in protecting sensitive files for my clients. But I did create a copy of the documents just in case I need to retrieve metadata in the future. Removing them won’t affect what’s inside the file. So, if you think you need this, try it and let us know in the comments below how it goes.