If you are thinking of letting go of your old computer, either because it’s time for a new one, or because you simply don’t want it anymore, you might come across a few challenges.
Remember that during the whole time you used it, you probably entered in it a great deal of valuable information, and some may still be saved in your computer. These may be anything from; passwords, bank account numbers, license keys or registration numbers of software programs, directions, phone numbers, medical information or prescriptions, tax returns, files created automatically by browsers and operating systems, and other important data that may fall into the hands of criminals. If you don’t take the necessary precautions before you dispose of your electronic equipment, you may end up being a victim of identity theft.
Your computer’s hard drive can be a great treasure for thieves. Why? Because a hard drive is a magnetic tool able to store data from your computer. It is one of the most important components of hardware inside your PC and is where all your important information is stored. Therefore, the first thing you should do is use a program that will clean your hard drive several times, deleting all the information it contains. To be even safer, the hard drive can be removed and destroyed.
Remember that formatting or deleting the files from the hard drive doesn’t ensure they have been eliminated forever, for they remain on the hard drive, only they are harder to find. But an expert on the subject can retrieve them with any data recovery software. In the modern world of today, in which the technology is so advanced, there are many people looking for these opportunities to steal using virtual information that they recover, even to blackmail the owners of such information and ask for money in exchange for for the return of the information.
Your computer’s hard drive can be a great treasure for thieves. Why? Because a hard drive is a magnetic tool able to store data from your computer. It is one of the most important components of hardware inside your PC and is where all your important information is stored.
If you are wondering where you can find a program to completely remove the information from your hard drive, it’s very easy, these types of programs are available online as well as in computer stores. Many of those found online are free and those found in stores are usually inexpensive. When choosing the program, check if it automatically deletes everything on the hard drive or if it allows you to choose what you want to delete. At Premiere Consumer Credit Counseling, we recommend you choose a program that sweeps the hard drive several times, to avoid the recovery of the information that was supposedly eliminated. But still, the best thing you can do, to be sure, is removing the hard drive and destroying it yourself
Read also: 12 strategies to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
Don’t forget to save your information elsewhere before removing it. You can use a USB drive, CD discs, another external hard drive or your new computer if you already have one. Remember that nowadays storing information in the “cloud” is an excellent choice, which allows you access to your information for free, just by registering and establishing a password. This tool has been gaining a lot of momentum and has proven a very safe one.
Once you have all the information that you want to keep safed elsewhere, and you are certain that the hard drive no longer contains any information, you can decide what to do with your PC.
At Premiere Consumer Credit Counseling, we give you some ideas about what to do with your old computer:
- Keep it: you could do this for the possibility you may be able to use some of the parts for your new computer, should it need them in time.
- Sell it or give it away: you can access online sales sites and try to find someone interested in buying it. Or you could give it to a family member, friend or acquaintance who needs it.
- Donate to a non-profit organization: there are social initiatives and educational institutions that do not have the resources to acquire this type of technological tool. In an act of goodwill you could donate it to one such organizations in need of it.
- Recycle it: Many PC manufacturers can receive your old computer to recycle it and advise you in acquiring a new one of their brand. You can check with your pc manufacturer if they can receive your old computer. Before taking your old PC to the manufacturers make sure they provide the service by visiting their website or contacting them by phone.
On a different note, it is important to take into account that many electronics contain metals that are highly harmful to the environment and must therefore be disposed of in the right way. For this reason, recycling it and leaving it in the hands of experts is a good choice. You can find more about this in the environmental protection agency where you will find information on electronics recycling programs.
There are several methods by which you can get rid of your old computer without exposing your identity or damaging the environment. Also be mindful that you can remove the graphic card and continue using it on other computers.