If you are interested in either selling, recycling, or donating an old laptop computer, there are a number of steps you need to take in order to ensure the information on that laptop never comes back to hurt you in the past.
Think about it. How much info have you divulged on your computer? Whether its email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and more. Obviously you can’t spend the time necessary to fish for all that info on your hard drive. That’s why the only truly safe measure is to format and wipe your laptop completely.
Here are the best tips to help:
Back up your hard drive data
This should be obvious, but it has to be said. The act of formatting and erasing your hard drive will make it so that all the information that was previously stored on that drive is erased. For that reason, it is wise to get an external hard drive and transfer the information over from your old laptop to your external.
Take extra care to erase sensitive material
When you wipe information from your hard drive, you want to be extra sure that you are deleting information that gives up sensitive information regarding you or your family. Make sure to erase the tax documents on your computer before your donate or sell it with WipeDrive. The same can be said about credit card information, bank info, and more.
Why it’s best to use a program to wipe your drive
It has been found that even if you manually wipe your drive, sometimes data is recoverable. This can be a scary prospect if you have aforementioned material saved onto your laptop. That’s why it’s wise to use a program such as WipeDrive. Programs such as these are able to completely erase files on a hard drive, ensuring that there is now way for people to recover them at any time.
Do a fresh installation of the operating system
If you want to be absolutely certain that you have erased any sensitive data on your computer, one great way is to uninstall the computer’s operating system and then reinstall it. This is something of a hard reboot as it will make the computer act like a completely new machine.
Physically wipe your hard drive
This is probably the furthest measure you can take when it comes to ensuring that information dose not remain on your laptop computer. One way to physically wipe your hard drive is to remove the hard drive and take a rare earth magnet to it.
A rare earth magnet, like the neodymium magnet, can be used to deform the metal plates in the hard disk. This makes it unusable Just remember to not do this if you have any plans of selling or donating the machine as this action will render it unusable. Another thing to keep in mind is that this action can result in personal harm, so make sure to read up on how to do it and take necessary precautions.