What to do with your old laptops and desktops
If you are considering upgrading your laptop or PC, you may wonder what to do with your old one. You may want to recycle or donate it – but from a security perspective, this is not 100% safe.
This post will explore some security risks associated with recycling and donating old laptops and desktops and how you can reduce those risks.
We will also provide some alternative disposal methods that are more secure.
Why Is It Important To Safely Dispose Of Hardware?
It is crucial to safely dispose of hardware because it usually contains sensitive information that criminals could access. If you simply throw away your old laptops and desktops, someone could easily find them and access the stored data. This could lead to identity theft or other types of fraud.
To protect your data, wiping your devices before you dispose of them is essential. Wiping the device means anyone who finds it can’t access sensitive information stored on it. You can usually wipe it through the settings menu. Once you wipe it, it is safe to dispose of.
Here are some more reasons why it’s important
- Old computers can still contain sensitive data even if you think you’ve deleted everything. A determined individual could still recover this data and use it against you.
- Aside from security, you must dispose of hardware properly to protect the environment from the hazardous materials contained in them.
How To Safely Dispose Of Hardware:
- Save important files
First, you should back up any important files on an external hard drive or cloud server when disposing of an old device. This means you can access your files once you have gotten rid of the device.
Where you save your data should depend on its sensitivity. It is best to avoid potentially risky storage locations like the cloud for data that could lead to identity theft or fraud, such as social security numbers or credit card information.
Also, ensure your information has been saved on the backup device before moving on to the next step.
2. Delete your browsing history
When you’re done with a laptop or desktop, it’s essential to delete your browsing history before you get rid of the device. It will help protect your privacy and security.
To delete your browsing history, open your web browser and go to the history section. From here, you can select which history items you want to clear. Once you’ve made your selection, click the Clear button.
3. Uninstall your programs
If you’re selling or donating your old laptop or desktop, you’ll want to ensure that all your data and programs are off the device. The first step is uninstalling all the programs on the computer.
To do this, visit the Control Panel and select “Uninstall a program” (or “Add/Remove Programs” if you’re using an older version of Windows). From there, you can uninstall each program individually.
4. Wipe your hard drive
The next step is to wipe your hard drive. This will ensure that all your data and files are removed from the system. You can either use a software program or physically remove the computer’s hard drive and destroy it.
Many different options are available if you choose to use a software program. Some programs will overwrite all of the hard drive, while others will encrypt the data so it cannot be accessed. No matter the method you choose, ensure that you select a program compatible with your OS and follow the instructions carefully.
If you followed all the previous steps, your device is now safe to recycle. It is important to recycle your hardware because it contains materials that are hazardous to the environment. When you send it to be recycled, an expert will strip it down safely and dispose of it accordingly.
Each year, cybercrime and fraud are rising. You must follow all these steps to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Doing so will ensure that your data and information stay safe and secure and that you’re not inadvertently putting yourself or the environment at risk.