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How to Safely Discard Your Computer Without Leaving Behind Sensitive Information

If you are planning to recycle or throw-away an old computer, there are a few things you need to do first. Personal or sensitive data can enter the wrong hands, if not completely erased from the hard drive. Follow these tips when getting rid of your old computer:

Back up any data, videos, pictures etc. you want to keep. After erasing the hard drive nothing will be recoverable.

Decide how you will erase the hard drive. If the hard drive contains high-risk data, consider hiring a registered refurbisher. High-risk data includes bank account numbers, passwords, company information and any other data considered confidential. Hiring a certified professional will increase the likelihood all data will be properly erased and unrecoverable. If the hard drive contains medium- to low-risk data, consider erasing all data yourself. Best Buy’s Geek Squad provides directions here.

Decide how to discard the computer. You have four options: sell, trade-in, recycle or throw it away. Making sure all your data has been permanently erased is essential before this step.

Sell the computer: There are many outlets for selling your computer online, locally or through a friend – just use a reputable resource.

Trade-in the computer: Many companies offer trade-in programs. You will gain a certain amount of store credit to put towards your new computer by trading in your old one. This can be a great way to help you pay for the new device you want! Two of the most popular trade-in locations are Best Buy and Apple

Recycle the computer: There is a recycling program for everything – even computers! Most cities have recycling kiosks to dump old electronics. Click here to find a list of computer recycling centers in Kansas. Electronic recycling programs, like Electronics Challenge, are offered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to encourage retailers to accept recycled electronics. Many companies also offer recycling services, such as Best Buy.

Throw away the computer: Most waste removal companies discourage customers from throwing computers out with the trash. Most offer electronic recycling services to help keep valuable materials like silver, copper and silicone out of the landfills. Check with your local trash service to comply with all regulations.

If you have an old computer just taking up space, you don’t have to keep it any longer. Properly erase your hard drive and say good riddance. Discarding old computers is completely safe when done properly. Don’t wait any longer!

Do you have questions about discarding an old computer? Or other electronic safety tips? If so, leave a comment below.

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Categories: Safety and Security
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