Technology is changing constantly and these rapid advancements can make our laptops and other devices feel outdated after just a couple of years. The average lifespan of a laptop is about 4 years, depending on what you use your laptop for. In addition to the more frequent changes in technology, identity theft and other forms of fraud are also on the rise, making it more important than ever that you dispose of your old laptop in a way that doesn’t enable criminals to use your information. In this article, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps for protecting yourself from fraud.
Step One: Back it up!
The first thing you’ll need to do is back up any files you want to keep on a hard drive. This may include photos, music, and important files like tax documents and other things you don’t want to lose. You can buy a hard drive online or at any electronics store. You may also want to use a cloud service to save your files online. Doing both will make sure that your files are safe after your computer’s hard drive is wiped.
Step Two: De-Authorize Programs
Programs such as iTunes and Microsoft Office will only allow a certain number of computers to use it under your username. De-authorizing your computer will allow you to install the program on a new computer. Each program has different instructions for de-authorization, but generally, you’ll find the action under your account settings.
Step Three: Delete, Erase, Uninstall
This is an important step to make sure that thieves won’t have access to your internet passwords, especially for bank accounts. Use your internet browser’s method for deleting all of your browsing and password information. Next, send all of your sensitive documents, especially those that contain social security numbers and banking information, to the trash bin and empty it. Finally, uninstall all of your programs, particularly the ones that you’ve paid for or that have an account with your personal information.
Step Four: Wipe the Disk
This is the last step to ensuring that your laptop no longer contains any trace of your identity. Depending on whether you have a Mac or use Windows, the directions for wiping the disk will be different. There is also software that you can buy which you run from a CD or flash drive that will wipe the disk for you. The other option is to physically remove the hard drive from the computer and take your anger out on it until it cannot be used. This is important if your laptop won’t start up and you’re unable to do steps 1 – 3.
Step Five: Get Rid of your Laptop without Harming the Environment
Finally, your laptop is squeaky clean and ready for a new home. There are a few ways you can get rid of it, including selling it online, donating it to a charity, or taking it to a special electronics recycling center. The only thing that is not an option is throwing it in the trash or your home’s recycling bin; toxic materials in the laptop like arsenic can make their way into our ecosystem. Not good.
Now you know how to safely get rid of your old laptop but first stop by National Computer Repair to see if your computer can be repaired. You can also browse our great selection of laptops and computers.