What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?.

Today we are going to talk to you in depth about the metadata of the files on your computer, such as text documents, PDF files and other types of multimedia files such as music, video or photography. The metadata is used to have data about the data in these files, information that can sometimes be private to say a lot about you.

Therefore, we are going to start by explaining you in a simple way what exactly is metadata and how to display it. Then we will tell you what kind of information they can show about you, and we will end by telling you some ways you can eliminate them.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

What is file metadata

Metadata is the data that is used to describe other data, so we often refer to them as the “data about data”. The files that you generate on your computer with different programs have specific data, which is what you enter, but there is also another series of data that describes other characteristics about the context of the file, metadata over which you do not have direct control by default.

For example, if you create a Windows file with Word or another tool, you can write as much as you want to it, but then the application will generate a series of metadata for that file. In them it will describe aspects such as the date it was created, the exact app you used or the date you last modified the content.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

Metadata is also generated when creating multimedia files, both photos and videos, using a conventional camera or smartphone. In this metadata you will also find information that ranges from the characteristics of the photo such as ISO speed or exposure time to other more personal data, such as the manufacturer or model of the camera or smartphone from which you took the photo.

In either of these two cases, are metadata that is generated automatically to describe the content of the file data, hence the description of “data about data”. This type of information can be quite telling.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

This metadata is not only useful for you as a user but be able to have more information about the files. Different services and social networks also use them to categorize and organize the content that you upload to them, being able to establish the exact date when the file was created, the location or other characteristics.

How to view the metadata

Viewing the metadata of a file of any type is quite simple, since most operating systems will show it to you quickly. For example in Windows, all you have to do is right click on the file and click on the Properties option (1). A window with data will appear, and in it you must go to the Details tab (2) to display information about the file.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

But sometimes the metadata that your operating system shows can be a bit limited compared to the total you can find. If you want to know even more about them, you can use online services such as Metapicz for the EXIF ​​metadata of the photos, or Get Metadata for any other type of file.

What information does the metadata show

The type of information that you can obtain through the metadata depends a lot on the type of file you are analyzing. For example, if you look at a video that you have recorded on your mobile, you will see its resolution, bitrate, channels and audio quality or its duration. Also the weight of the file, its name and format or the geolocation in addition to some other technical data.

In the case of photos, you can see the model, brand or serial number of a camera, the diaphragm aperture, sensitivity or focal length at which it was taken, or if you have taken it with a manual mode and flash or without flash. If you took it with a smartphone, you also have the model with which you took it and the latitude, longitude and height at which you were at that moment. Also the data of the file itself, such as the resolution, the weight or the size of the image.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

As for other files such as text documents, you will see data such as the exact application with which they have been created (including if it was a trial version), the date on which you have created it and on which you have been able to modify it. It also shows the title, formatting, paragraphs, and number of revisions, as well as other information such as whether it is a shared document.

As you can see, some of this data is pretty harmless, but there are others who can say a lot about you, such as those related to the geoposition or the device you have used. Also, in the case of documents you may not want others to know exactly what application you have used.

How to delete metadata in Windows 10

Deleting metadata in Windows 10 is relatively easy. The first thing you have to do is access them, and weight you must right click on the file whose metadata you want to delete and click on the Properties option (1). Once the properties window opens, enter the Details tab to display the basic metadata.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

Once you are in the Properties window with the Details tab, you must click on the option Remove properties and personal information which you will see at the bottom, just below the box where the metadata is displayed.

Once in the Remove properties and personal information menu, first select the option Remove the following properties from this file (1) that you have at the top. Now you can choose which metadata to remove, but also press the Select All button (2) to choose them all. Finally, press the OK button to apply the changes.

Use the native Office tool

The Office suite includes a metadata manager in Word, Excel and all its tools that also allows you to delete it. To access it, open the file in an Office application, and then click on the File menu that you have at the top left.

You will enter a window in which you can preview various of the file’s metadata or properties. In it you have to access the Inspect document tool, for which you must click on the option Check for problems (1). A menu with three options will be displayed, in which you must click on * Inspect document (two).

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

You will go to a window where you can choose what type of data you want to examine. In her, keep everything selected and hit Inspect to analyze all the data in the file.

You will then go to a window in which again you will see the various types of data with information about the file. Here, to remove the metadata you must click on Remove all in the type of options that include it, and thus delete all that data from the file.

Remove metadata with third-party tools

Although I’m sure that with a Google search you will find websites that promise to eliminate metadata, it is possible that for privacy you prefer not to upload that file to any server of these tools. Fortunately, there are tools like Doc Scrubber for text documents or MetaStripper for photos, which they are extremely simple when it comes to allowing you to upload documents and delete their metadata.

What is a file’s metadata, what information does it show, and how is it erased?

However, you also have online tools recommended by security specialists such as MetaShield Analyzer, which although it requires you to be registered to use it allows you to delete all kinds of formats open and proprietary documents, images, audio and video, compressed files and more.