If you plan to dispose of your old computer, you should know how to prepare a computer for donation. Every year, there is numerous news about the robbing of sensitive data. One of the most common reasons this happens is the failure to dispose of information technology assets properly.
All gadgets, including mobile phones, laptops, and computers, contain personal and financial information. It may include personal documents, tax returns, phone numbers, addresses, license keys, account numbers, and passwords. These types of information are the target or scammers and identity thieves.
With that being said, securing your computer before donating is essential, and if you have no idea how to do it, do not worry because that is why we are here. This post attempts to explain the steps of computer recycling. Let’s begin!
6 Steps To Prepare A Computer For Donation
Remember that throwing IT equipment is illegal: you must know of computer recycling. But ensure that you are safe from data breaching by knowing the following steps to wipe your computed clean before disposal. So, here are the steps on how to prepare a computer for donation:
Step #1. Creating backup
First and foremost, save all of your essential data. The simplest way to do this is to backup all data onto any storage device. For instance, you can make use of cloud storage, USBs, hard drives, among others. You may even store your file on another PC.
Step #2. Cleaning its hard drive
No matter how you want to dispose of your computer, you should wipe its hard drive. This does not mean deleting all the data. Take note that if you do not clean it properly, your data can still be retrieved using various data recovery software. The first step is to delete your files from the drive-by clicking shift + Del, then use any data shredding software to overwrite the files. You can overwrite several times so that it will be harder to retrieve.
Also, take note that not all data are retrievable on specific drives. This is why you should prepare each drive differently. For example, if your computer has a solid-state drive, you should reinstall its operating system by deleting all data.
For mechanical drive, you need to clean the drive first before reinstalling its operating system. The same procedure must be followed if your PC has an external drive. Furthermore, each edition of Window contains a different feature of factory settings. In other words, resetting across Windows edition varies. With that being said, you should be knowledgeable of its respective feature. Know how you can wipe your computer clean, depending on its edition. You may want to know how to dispose of old computer.
Step #3. Wiping the external drive
In case your computer has an external drive such as a USB or hard drive, ensure to wipe them clean too. Even though it is easy to do this, you must note that they are not similar across different operating systems. For instance, deleted data from Windows XP can be quickly recovered but not as easy as Windows Vista.
Step #4. Deleting the browsing history
Other than cleaning the external and hard drive, you also need to clean your browsing history. When we say browsing history, this pertains to everything that you have searched for in any browser, including Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, among others. Oh, you may want to know what is a donation drive.
Step #5. Uninstalling programs
Although we can consider particular programs as safe such as Office, it may not be accurate. In addition, such programs are saving some of our data, including addresses and names, which is why it is essential to secure your old computer by uninstalling those programs. To do this, you can look for the uninstall option from the settings or access it from the ‘My Computer’ bar. But, again, before you donate your gadget, ensure to uninstall all of your programs. You may want to know where to buy donation boxes.
Step #6. Encrypt your files
For some, the data they store in their systems can be too sensitive that deleting or wiping them will not suffice. What should they do in such a case? Fortunately, data encryption was invented. To keep them safe from breaching, you can encrypt your data, including your folders, files, and even drives. Before you donate your PC, make sure that you have encrypted your drive so that no one can access any of your data. You can use a program called TrueCrypt for this since it encrypts entire drives and forms encrypted containers. Once you have already encrypted your data, you can stop worrying that others may steal your data. That is because the encryption key will be required before you can access those files. This will make it hard for the thief to do his goal.
It’s A Wrap!
Yes, those are the steps on how to prepare a computer for donation. Rather than simply disposing of your old computer, you can donate it to a less-fortunate individual. This can be beneficial for them, especially when it is still in a good and functional condition. Hence, look for a charity in the neighborhood or online that accepts used computers for further donation. Then, apply the steps to prepare a computer for donation before proceeding to that simple act of kindness. You may want to know about what is an in-kind donation.