When you get a new computer, you will be thinking, ‘what should I do with my old one?’ Don’t just throw your hard drive away. Computers have all sorts of toxic chemicals that are pretty dangerous to people and the environment. They also contain a huge amount of personal data like passwords, licence keys, finance data and personal information.
Just throwing your old hard drive in the bin or the local recycling facility is a bit like throwing your old wallet away complete with bank cards and ID. Would you want that to fall into the wrong hands?
Even if you are just giving the computer to a trusted friend or a family member, you don’t know who is going to access it and its contents or if they will dispose of it responsibly.
Back up your files
Save all your important files and back up everything else to a cloud service for an easy installation on your next computer. This is also a great way to access your files if you are travelling or using multiple devices like a smart phone or an iPad.
Deleting & wiping your hard drive
Just deleting your files isn't enough, files can still be found until they are overwritten and anyone familiar with data recovery can access and retrieve any files containing personal information you would rather be kept personal.
In order to ensure it is completely removed (wiped) from your system use a specific hard drive program designed to wipe this information for good e.g., File Shredder or Permanent Eraser.
You will also want to uninstall any programs you have added and might have stored personal data on. Ideally you will want to uninstall all programs you have added since purchasing the machine. Always remember to delete your browser history. You should even consider reformatting the drive.
Once your computer is safely cleaned of any personal information you can look to dispose it either ethically or not. Unethical recycling can mean your PC ends up as hazardous waste in Asia or Africa, this has become a child health concern for many countries.
Surprisingly your PC may contain up to 2kg of lead and is made up of (approx.):
Ferrous metals 32%
Non ferrous metal 18%
Electronic boards 12%
Your ethical disposal options are either:
- Returning it to the manufacturer or retailer (if possible)
- Taking it to a professional waste disposal site
- Donating it to a non-profit organisation itforcharities.co.uk/it-services/recycled-pcs/
Next time you are looking to upgrade your PC, don’t be so quick to dispose of the old one. If you need advice on how to effectively wipe clean your old hard drive call Hale IT on 0161 941 2525.