We know that nothing lasts forever, and even with proper treatment and maintenance, our computers will eventually lose the properties that made them fast, responsive, and easy to use. Our phones and tablets offer options to upload everything on them into the cloud and then wipe the original devices. However, computers aren’t as easily discarded, and the information destruction process is a bit more invasive. When you’re ready for an updated device, follow these tips for disposing of your old computer to ensure your privacy.
Back up Data
As you’ve decided to get a new computer, you’ll want to ensure that the data you wish to keep from your old one is backed up. There are many ways in which we ensure no information gets lost, from using live documents and save folders online; however, if there is something particular on your Mac or PC that you wish to carry over, back up your hard drive. Whether you use an external hard drive or create an archive, never wait until the data is irretrievable.
Wipe Hard Drive
It’s hard to ensure data on a hard drive will get removed. To keep sensitive information from making its way into the wrong hands, follow the steps. Properly destroying a hard drive is essential.
- You will want to start by deleting all files and emptying your recycle bin. However, even after you do this, the information is still on the hard drive.
- Next, work to uninstall the programs you’ve added over time. Luckily, many programs save information through the cloud, so reinstalling them on your new computer should restore a lot of the information associated with the programs. It’s important to disconnect your information from this specific computer, so the programs have got to be unlinked.
- When you think about clearing your browser, you may wonder why it’s important because they’re just various listed websites. However, many of the websites visited frequently contain passwords and lead to private information, which is why clearing them is so important.
- Once you’ve accomplished the unlinking and deletion of all personalization on your computer, restore it to its factory settings. You can use a hard drive erasing program to overwrite the existing yet deleted files, which then makes them unrecoverable.
It’s important to follow tips for disposing of your old computer to ensure it’s done right. You aren’t allowed to throw them in the trash. The worry is that the materials within electronics can be hazardous. They cannot be put into landfills due to their toxic properties, which harm the environment. Instead, take a different action. Some examples are:
- Donate it. If your computer is still in good condition, you can donate it to a variety of organizations, underfunded schools, or to someone who needs a working computer for basic tasks.
- Sell it. Many people will buy and clean up a computer and sell it once it’s been refurbished. It won’t be worth what you paid, but you could still make some money back on it.
- Recycle it. Though there are some parts in a computer that could contain mercury, lead, or other hazardous materials, there may be recyclable parts as well. However, many towns offer drop-off or trade-in options, so you could leave your old computer with them.