With the weather getting a little bit warmer and days getting a little longer, this is the time of year that most people start spring cleaning. Winter clothes get put in the back of the closet and shorts and shirts move to the front. You might find some unwanted items around the house that you either want to throw away or donate. Found an old computer that you no longer have use for? Don’t just throw it away. Computers house all sorts of toxins that are bad for us and the environment. Your personal information is also at risk if you decide to get rid of your computer. Read below for tips on how to safely dispose of your old computer.
How to delete your personal information
Before you throw your computer out, you need to ensure your personal information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
Save important files
- Back up your files or transfer them to a new computer – use an external hard drive for this
- For an easy ongoing backup use a cloud service e.g. Google Drive – you get 15GB free storage
Wipe your hard drive clean
Deleting files is not enough because a simple data recovery program can be used to retrieve deleted files. Make sure to:
- Delete and overwrite sensitive files
- Turn on drive encryption
- Deauthorise your computer
- Delete your browsing history
- Uninstall your programs
- Wipe your hard drive
How to dispose of your computer
Instead of throwing your computer away, consider recycling, donating, trading it in or selling it. Avoid any personal information like passwords, account numbers, addresses and phone numbers, tax returns and other personal documents ending up with the wrong people.