A: Metadata can be useful on a machine, but often contains private or confidential information you don't I want to reveal when sending a file to an external recipient. The Windows 7 and Vista Explorers provide new feature that allows you to easily remove file metadata. To remove unwanted metadata from a file in Windows Vista or Windows 7:

  • Select one or more files in Windows Explorer, right-click them, then click Properties.
  • Go to the Details tab and click Remove Properties and Personal Information to open the Remove Properties dialog.
  • This dialog gives you two options. The default option, Create a copy with all possible properties removed, keeps the original version of the file with all of its properties and makes a copy with all properties that aren't suitable for sharing removed. The second option, Remove the following properties from this file, allows you to select the check boxes next to individual properties and permanently remove them. The latter option doesn't make a copy of the file and only affects the original file.

Microsoft Office 2007 provides a similar feature called Document Inspector to remove metadata from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Access it by clicking the Office Button, pointing to Prepare, then selecting Inspect Document. More on the Document Inspector feature is available from Microsoft.