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You have spent a lot of money on your company's recycling bin. This investment was meant to help your business be environmentally-friendly, make it easier to organize the trash and to ensure the vicinity was clean and neat. Now you have to find ways to maximize your investment. As a business, particularly one where a recycling bin is in a public venue, ow

5 Ways to Prepare Your Computer for Recycling

Jacob Adams 2016-10-17 15:00:00

After years of tossing all of your old desktops, laptops and tablets into the closet, you have finally decided to take action by recycling your perhaps somewhat antiquated technology.

Unfortunately, your 12-year-old desktop has images of you and your friends pranking your math teacher. Meanwhile, your 2010 laptop has 400 gigabytes of questionable videos that we will not get into. Also, the iPad you purchased a few years ago has plenty of account passwords.

Yes, it is fair to say that the data stored on your old computers can't be shared with others.

This is why it is essential to prepare your computer for recycling. There are several steps you have to take before you dump your desktop computer into the recycling bin or drop off your box of laptops and netbooks at an e-waste facility. By doing this, you protect yourself from theft. Before preparing these steps, you may also want to consider a service provider. RecycleYourElectronics is a fantastic resource for recycling computers and they provide services across the Greater Toronto Area.

Here are five ways to prepare your computer for recycling:

(1) Save & Backup Important Files

Should you decide that you want to save your high school paper on the parallel between "Looney Tunes" and metaphysics or you want to save the numerous folders of Justin Bieber or Angelina Jolie photographs then you will need to both save and backup your important files.

You can perform two things here: you can either store your files in the cloud by using a free online service or you can purchase a 1 terabyte hard drive and transfer the files to that device.

(2) Uninstall Your Programs

Next, if you have acquired a large number of computer programs and software and they're scattered across several computers then you should immediately uninstall them. Indeed, it will take some work – you have to get the computer, plug it in, turn it on and delete the programs one by one – but this not only minimizes identity theft, it also prevents someone from getting something for free.

(3) Delete Your Vast Browsing History

We all have, shall we say, interesting Internet browsing histories. For the most part, users tend to delete their browsing histories before they shut the computer down for the day. Others, on the other hand, want to keep their browsing history because it makes perusing the Internet easier.

If you don't want a random person to find out what you visited in any given day then delete the browsing history. Remember, cookies, personal data and other online elements are stored in your browsing history. So if you delete the history then everything else will be erased as well.

(4) Wipe Your Hard Drive

Once all of these have been completed, the final step to take is wiping your hard drive. There are three free and paid options: Darik's Boot and Nuke, an unsupported freeware program; Active@ Kill Disk, a free basic wipe or a paid version; and WipeDrive, a disk overwrite power tool.

These options will allow you to get rid of everything that was on your hard drive.

(5) Think About Physical Destruction

If you lack the confidence in any everything you just did then perhaps there is one final task: physically destroying your hard drive. Similar to the famous scene from "Office Space," you can take a baseball bat and start beating up your hard drive. Or, you can shred it or burn the hard drive. Whatever you do, be careful and realize that you can't retrieve any of the data anymore.

Digital Trends wrote in 2012:

"We live in a world of incredible innovation in consumer technology. What’s cutting-edge now (Retina display Macbook Pro, anyone?) will likely be ho-hum only a few years down the road. We’ve all grown accustomed to the planned obsolescence of our electronics. Keeping a primary computer running smoothly for five years or longer seems like a herculean task, and very few self-respecting gamers would consider using their machine for longer than two years – at least, not without major component upgrades."

E-waste is gradually becoming a big deal for Western society these days. As technology becomes cheaper and we start to accumulate more of it, we tend to toss our old computers in the trash without blinking an eye. This is dangerous because of unscrupulous individuals and the planet.

By preparing your computer for recycling, you can ensure that no one will gain access to your personal information and sensitive data. You have taken the right step by recycling your computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and phablets. But you must ensure nothing can be accesses, retrieved or downloaded by a surreptitious person with iniquitous motives.