The Dangers Of Selling Or Recycling Your Computer

Never be in such a hurry to get rid of your old computer that you forget the things you need to do to protect yourself. You could be subjecting yourself to identity theft or criminal penalties. Here are just some of the things you need to do:

  • Always remove the License sticker. Use a razor blade, or knife and carefully remove this sticker. It can be found in numerous areas on the outside of the case. It will have the name of the operating system that was installed on the hard drive. Just below that is the very long number which is the activation code. If you can successfully remove the sticker in one piece, you can reuse it on another computer if need be. You are the one that owns the license that you paid for. You do not want anyone else to use it.
  • Remove all personal data from your hard drive. If you do not you could be subjecting yourself to possible identity theft. In fact, if you left the address list on you email account every person on that list could be at risk. If you saved all your passwords and user names for your bank account or other critical web sites, it is possible for someone else to access these accounts. Once they are in they can change the password so that you can not get into your own account. They can find ways to empty your account before you know what happened.
  • Reformat the hard drive. This is the only good way to be real sure all your personal data has been removed. Even after you format the drive, highly sophisticated software can get information off you drive. If you had very sensitive information on the drive you may want to have it professionally destroyed. They would be done with special software or by physically destroying the drive.
  • If you are not sure how to reformat a drive or remove it find a technician in your area that does know.
  • You could also just remove the hard drive from the case. The hard drive can be kept or you can worry about what to do with it later.
  • There could be some legal problems if you try to just throw the computer in a dumpster or get rid of it in an illegal manner. Many Cities now have recycling laws that must be followed.

If you recycle the computer at a recycling center do not bet that someone will not want to see what is on your computer. This is even more true if you sell your old computer to somebody else. The data that is on the computer hard drive could be worth more than the computer itself for certain people.