There is always a time to say goodbye, even to that computer that has served its purpose faithfully for years. The first inclination for most people when it’s time to dispose of old computers is to simply tuck it away in a trash somewhere, which is a mistake for two reasons; computers are electronics and so when you don’t dispose them off properly they can be hazardous to the environment and secondly, your personal information could easily be retrieved by anyone.
So what do you do? Wipe off all personal information following the steps below and then it is time to dispose of it.
How To Dispose Of Old Computers
Backup your files
The first thing you must do is to backup all your files using either an external hard drive or any other storage device you have. You can also decide to transfer them to the new computer you are using.
Another great way that you can back up your files is by saving them on the cloud. Why this is a great option is because it makes it easy for you to access your files even when you travel without your computer or hard drive.
Permanently delete your files
When you highlight files on your computer and simply hit the delete key, what you are doing is pushing them to the recycle bin. Those with a little understanding of how things work would head to the bin and delete them again. But then, even that does not permanently delete files from your computer.
When you delete files from your computer, there is always some residue or fingerprint that is left behind for anyone to pull back what you have deleted and your personal information. So what do you do? You have to permanently overwrite it.
1. Overwrite all files that are sensitive
As noted, hitting the delete key is not enough to wipe off all the things you want to permanently do off with. Hence, you may need to overwrite such sensitive files using software designed specifically for such.
Although there are many programs that promise to wipe off your system, what Microsoft recommends is for one to either use Active@KillDisk or Softpedia DP Wiper software. Both of these tools can be downloaded for free.
It gets interesting to understand that even this is not foolproof and so there are those that recommend for you to overwrite your files at least three times. Others believe that just once is enough.
There are certain services such as iTunes that only allow for one to access a limited number of computers. What you want to do, is to deauthorize such services before you dispose of old computers. The deauthorization is something you will want to do before finally uninstalling such programs.
3. Uninstall your programs
There are certain programs on your computer that contain some of your personal information including your browsers, Microsoft office, and more. Because of this, it is also important for you to ensure that all programs on your computer are uninstalled before doing off with your computer.
4. Reset your computer
Another thing you may want to do is to reset your computer. This is very important as it will have all your personal files and programs uninstalled while your computer will be taken to its default state.
To do this on your PC, go to settings, and search for reset. Under settings, select “Remove everything and reinstall Windows.” You will get a prompt notifying you that the selection will delete everything on your computer and take it to its factory setting. Follow the prompts that come next and you will reset your system.
If, on the other hand, you are using a Mac, Restart your computer and when the gray screen appears as it restarts, you will want to hold down the Command and R keys. Next, select Disk Utility, followed by Continue, and then select the startup disk on the left.
The next thing to do is to click the Erase tab, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled), put in a name and finally click Erase. When that is done, select Disk Utility and then Quit Disk Utility. Then select Reinstall OS X, and follow the instructions that follow.
5. The hammer treatment
There are experts who believe it doesn’t matter what you do, once someone is good enough, one will be able to get back all files and other personal information from your computer. And so, the recommendation is for you to simply use the hammer treatment; physically destroy your hard drive.
You are advised to destroy the hard drive in a way that one cannot put it on a computer or in an external case. The best way to do this is by breaking it apart with a hammer. The good news, however, is you can always take out your hard drives before disposing of your computers.
There is another method known as degaussing that firms use in destroying data They expose drives to powerful magnets and that will wipe everything off. While it is a reliable way of destroying your data, it is quite expensive for individuals.
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How to Safely Get Rid Of It
With your information safely done off with, here are different things you may want to do with your old computer:
1. Trade your computer
There are certain firms including HP and Dell that make it possible for you to have your old computer recycled when you come to buy a new one.
There are many other companies that will give the same option if you are using their product and you want to buy from them. It is one of the safest and most responsible ways to dispose of computers.
2. Recycle your old computer
Something else that you may be interested in doing is to recycle it through a certified recycling agency. The importance of using someone that has been certified is that there are some that may ship such old computers to developing countries where they get dumped.
3. Make some money from it
You can also make a few bucks by selling your old computer on the internet through various platforms including Amazon and BestBuy. Or, you may decide to take off the important components that are still very off and sell them off.