Top 10 things to do when throwing out a computer



This is going to sound familiar to those that have been here before, but I’ve just had a once over of a batch of machines that are going to get thrown away tomorrow and felt compelled to make a list of the top ten things to do before you throw away, give away, pitch or otherwise dispose of your computer…..


10. Wipe the hard drive before you give away your computer!
9. Wipe the hard drive before you throw away your computer!
8. Wipe the hard drive before you recycle your computer!
7. Wipe the hard drive before your computer leaves your control…….
6………………. well I think you get the point by now. ANYTIME you’re giving away a computer unless you absolutely trust the recipient with ALL of your browsing history, bank information, web logins, emails and cookie recipes…………… WIPE THE HARD DRIVE CLEAN.

It’s easy to do. I’ve had people puzzle over how to erase everything. Magnet? Take the drive out and bury it in the yard? drop it? The EASIEST, CHEAPEST and for me …. BEST way to wipe a hard drive before getting rid of an old computer is to use a tool like DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke). It’s really fairly easy. The download is for a floppy or cd image. If you don’t know how to write either of those to a disc to boot from there are instructions. IF YOU DON’T think you can follow the instructions for DBAN, please find someone to help you. I can’t tell how many stories I’ve heard of people buying a used pc to find all sorts of interesting information from the previous owner.

I’d say it’s even MORE important for a business to make use of a tool such as DBAN on the decomissioning of systems. There are some limitations to DBAN. The main one currently is the lack of support for USB drives. The other biggest limitation I’ve seen comes down to peoples understanding of what it means to “wipe the drive”. I’ve had to make very clear at times that after “wiping the drive” it WILL NOT BOOT WINDOWS. That is EXACTLY what you want though when tossing out an old pc, you WANT to wipe EVERYTHING off, so that any other user has to start fresh with the PC.

So, I’ve got about 3-4 hard drives that I pulled and will be wiping while the systems they lived in are tossed out. I salvaged a few other small parts from them…. but no matter how you get rid of that pc…. WIPE THE DRIVE. Did I mention that DBAN is a free download?

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