Recycling or Donating Old Tech? Take These Steps Before You Do
What to know before you retire your old computer or device
When it’s time to upgrade to a new computer or device, you’re probably busy thinking about brands, features and price. But before you ditch your old technology, there’s a lot to consider. If it’s relatively new and still serviceable, it could be donated and reused.
Your old device also probably contains a library of files and data you might still want—or at the very least—want to keep out of the hands of someone else.
And even if your old technology is outdated and obsolete, you can recycle it in an environmentally responsible way. Recycling ensures that valuable raw materials are recovered from used computers and that waste is disposed of properly.
Before you donate or recycle, here are 5 things to consider.
1. Save your data
If you have data you want to save, hard drives that contain your files can be removed quickly from PCs being sent to recycling centers. Removing and storing these hard drives securely takes little space and preserves the data in case it is needed.
2. Permanently Remove Data
Removing and dismantling the hard drive is the most effective means of destroying data permanently. Hard drives store data on platters inside the drive. If those platters are destroyed, the data is gone forever, and the drives can then be sent to be recycled.
3. Preserve programs and OS
If the PC will be reused or donated, sensitive data can be deleted, then wiped clean by software that overwrites the stored data. This method can preserve programs and operating systems.
4. Reformat drives
With software, it’s possible to completely erase all data on a hard drive, overwriting it until it is unrecoverable. Once a drive is wiped clean, it can still be reformatted and an operating system and software reinstalled.
5. Delete personal data
Before you sell or donate a phone, tablet or e-reader, make sure all personal data, including account information, is removed. Find your device’s factory reset feature in the owner’s manual or by internet search. Factory resets return the unit to the same state as when you purchased it and removes all data. Also, be sure to remove any added memory chips or cards.