‘In with the new and out with the old’… this sentiment may work well for New Year’s resolutions but be careful when applying it to any new tech equipment containing your personal data.
For those of you lucky enough to have received Christmas gifts of new laptops, PCs, tablets…you probably just want to spend time using your new gadget rather than having to think about what to do with your old devices.
Getting new laptops and PCs raises the question of what to do in order to ensure the safe disposal of the old equipment and most importantly the data it contains. Your personal data such as passwords, bank and account details, this is the stuff of fraudsters’ dreams so take responsibility and ensure you do not give them free access to this.
Top Tips to dispose of your data safely
- Don’t be fooled that if it is in your trash bin that it is gone for good.
- Deleting data alone is NOT good enough. It is your hard drive that has your data and this is what you need to wipe. Most of the time data recovery software will make it relatively simple to retrieve these files.
- Firstly make sure that before you dispose of your data that you have successfully transferred it onto your new laptop or PC and ensure you have a backup copy.
- You can buy or download free tools to erase data but if you want a thorough job then contact your local IT experts to do this who will probably use special software which over writes files many times to make them ‘unreadable’.
- In the event that over writing of the hard drive is not possible then it will need to be physically removed and destroyed.
Once your data has been dealt with safely then there are various options to dispose of the equipment itself. If it is a relatively new bit of tech then you may wish to sell it, alternatively, many people opt to recycle or donate to charity.
A second life for unwanted tech
- Most laptop manufacturers offer recycling options, some even have cash back schemes, so have a look at their website.
- Contact your Local Authority – they should have a list of reputable local organisations that will be able to put it to good use.
- Some of the big electrical stores offer a recycling scheme too.
However you decide to dispose of your equipment, it is your responsibility to ensure your data is removed, NEVER assume that this will be done for you.