You can either sell or give your old computer away if you plan to buy a new one but be aware that there are certain dangers that come with disposing of your old PC. Your computer, for instance, may contain sensitive data and files that can be seen by anyone who knows how to retrieve files on your hard disk. You may get your personal and financial information compromised if this information falls into the wrong hands. Therefore, you should ensure that nobody else can access or view the files that are stored in your PC. To secure your privacy and protect the content that you have in your device, you should see to it that you remove the following from your computer before you sell or give it away:
You probably use your computer for your word processing needs and although most of the documents you have on your computer may probably be just compilations of your researches and reports, it still helps to delete your documents in case you have encoded and saved correspondences in your word processing program that you do not want to share with others. You may have also saved documents that contain sensitive information such as your bank details and your passwords for some of your web based accounts so make sure you thoroughly clean up the documents in your computer. Once done, remember to empty your recycle bin to prevent the deleted files from getting restored.
- Pictures and Videos
If you love to take photos and videos, you likely have hundreds, even thousands of these files stored in your computer. These too should be deleted before you toss out your PC but remember to secure backups of these files first. Otherwise, you will lose precious memories of your vacations and special events. It will be a good idea to burn copies of these photos and videos on CDs. You will probably need several CDs if you have plenty of media files that you want to back up. You may also use an external hard drive. In case the amount of your photos and videos exceed the allotted storage of your CD or drive, try to delete the unnecessary and badly taken photos and videos so you can only back up the important and relevant ones.
- Emails and Contacts
If you use an email client in your PC, make sure that you log in and delete all emails and contacts that are stored in it. You should also make sure that you delete the connection settings that connect your email client to your email server. If you have stored copies of your chat history in your computer for reference purposes, see to it that you also delete all of your IM archives in your PC so nobody else can go through your chat history.
- Internet Activities and Programs that Contain Sensitive Data
If you do not want other people to know what you do online, you should ensure that you delete all your internet activities prior to selling or giving away your computer. You should delete your browsing history as well as the bookmarks on your browser before getting rid of your PC to prevent other people from snooping in on what you do online. You can do this by visiting the tools section of your web browser. You may also want to uninstall the programs that you use on your computer, particularly those that contain sensitive information such as people’s contact numbers and address. If your phone service providers have programs that you use on your old computer, remember to delete these as well.