How To Remove Your Data From a Computer Before Recycling

Electronics need to be safely recycled to avoid environmental concerns. In many states, recycling is required for e-waste. There are, however, some safety concerns with handing over your hard drive. Learn how to remove data from computer before recycling to avoid identity theft or other risks. Protect sensitive data on your old personal or work computer for peace of mind during the recycling process. Protect the environment by recycling electronics without putting your personal information at risk.

Backup Your Data

Perhaps the most important step is backing up your data. Once a full data wipe is performed, you won’t be able to restore any files on the hard drive. A flash drive is a common way to back up your sensitive or personal files. Simply load all the files onto the portable device to access them from another computer.

Another backup strategy is to upload files onto the cloud. A digital storage solution ensures you won’t forget a flash drive or other physical device somewhere. With the right password, your files will be available from anywhere in the world.

There are security considerations for both of these backup strategies. A portable hard drive or flash drive can be stolen or lost. These portable, physical storage options can be encrypted, but that also adds the risk that you’ll forget your password. Digital storage options can be accessed anywhere, which means anyone who has your password can access the sensitive information.

Remove and Overwrite Your Data

Many individuals and business owners simply delete files from the hard drive or perform a factory reset. These options may make it difficult for most identity thieves to access personal information, but they are hardly obstacles from more knowledgeable and persistent criminals.

Data is still stored on your hard drive after deleting it and removing it from your recycling bin. Some third-party companies offer data removal services, but these can vary in effectiveness. While they may make it difficult to access deleted information, a full data wipe requires state-of-the-art strategies and a three-pass method.

A full data removal service doesn’t just delete the information, but writes over the top of it multiple times to prevent anyone from accessing the information in the future. This specialist service is the industry standard in confidential data management. A full data sanitization method, used by High Tech Recycling, includes three passes:

  1. Overwrite all locations that are addressable with zeroes.
  2. Overwrite with binary ones.
  3. Perform an overwrite with a random string of ones and zeroes.

This is one of the most thorough and comprehensive methods of removing data permanently. This level of thoroughness is enough for most companies and individuals. If you’re still not certain, ask about physical destruction.

Destroying your hard drive and receiving a certificate of destruction is the final, thorough way to ensure your information is forever removed from the hard drive. By making the hard drive completely inaccessible to any future user, you can make sure no one has the opportunity to even attempt to steal your information.

Work With a Local, Reputable Tech Recycling Company

Don’t send your computer to a company without a proven track record. Turn to a local, reliable company to ensure your data is actually removed and your identity is safe. Some electronic recycling companies claim to remove data, but don’t go through with the process. Other companies may offer data removal, but don’t recycle electronics.

Work with a company that offers affordable recycling of computers, smartphones, tablets and other items that may contain sensitive information. Don’t forget about these other items that can also store confidential information, but keep your personal and commercial information safe with thorough data removal and recycling.

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