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  • Giving Away Your Computer? Wipe Your Drive First.
Technology Articles > Computers > Desktops > Giving Away Your Computer? Wipe Your Drive First.

I can't think of anything better to do with an old computer than to donate it to someone in need. There are plenty of kids out there in the world that could really use a functional computer. Plus, if you aren't using your computer anymore, and you just plan to throw it away, you might as well donate it, right?

Before you donate an old PC, though, you have to make sure that your drive is completely wiped. Otherwise, you risk letting someone grab a hold of personal files, credit card statements, and anything else that you might have on your computer. How do you do this?

Wiping Your Hard Drive

The first thing that you should know is that simply emptying a trashcan won't completely eliminate data from an old hard drive. Sure, it's a good step to take, but it won't solve the problem. The second thing you need to know is that there are many different programs that will erase an entire hard drive for you.

Find a program that will erase your drive and run it. Sometimes, though, that method doesn't get rid of everything. Also, if you want to keep your drive, you will need to make sure that all data is erased. How? The best way to do this is (sorry, folks!) to bring it to a technician. This way, you can be sure that everything will be gone forever. Want to get rid of that drive forever? Smash it. Smash it with a hammer. That will do it!

What About Other Data?

PC sales are sliding and most people store tons of data on smartphones. The good news is that you can destroy smartphone data simply too. This is easy to do as well. Just choose the "restore to factory settings" setting, and your phone will be erased -- make sure you actually want to do this before you select that option!

Again, you can smash your old phone if you don't want to use it ever again. Just like that old hard drive, your phone can be destroyed with a hammer, run over with a car, or otherwise. Want to keep it or give it away? Make sure that it is completely destroyed, and that nobody can ever steal your data. Simple, right? Amazingly, so many people never destroy old hard drives or phones...and pay the price.

Destroy It All! Really!

Keep in mind that giving away any old device comes with some risk. You have to make sure that your drives are wiped. Once wiped, you can give a phone or computer away, or you can simply smash it. But, why smash it when someone in need could use your device? Or, at the very least, you might be able to sell an older device for parts or to a company that buys second-hand devices.

There's just one last thing to point out. If you are leaving your current job (and had a company phone), make sure to wipe that data when you leave. Otherwise, your old boss might be able to find out something about you -- usually, something bad.