Your computer contains a hub of personal information. From your name and contact information all the way down to personal financial information, it can be very detrimental to your well-being if this information ever fell into the wrong hands.
Oftentimes, when we purchase a new computer, we dispose of our old one without remembering to wipe it clean of all of our personal information. Or we think we get rid of our information, but we really only get rid of the easy-to-find information.
What most people do:
- Move their personal files to the trash can
- Edit the files, delete the content from them, save them with nothing on them, and finally delete them
Both of these options will not effectively get rid of your personal information because although our information is stored in these files, it is also deeply embedded into the hard drive of the computer which means getting rid of these files takes more work than hitting the delete button.
How to ensure your personal information is erased?
If you want to ensure that your information is completely erased, you need to invest in software that will permanently delete your information from your computer. Even though there exists free software that will help with this process, it is important to know that they will not be as effective or as fast as the commercial ones.
Your computer’s help section may also tell you how to accurately delete files, however with the right training and tools someone can still access the information from your computer if they wanted to.
What about businesses?
Since businesses have numerous computers that contain a great deal of private information, trying to completely erase them all will take a very considerable amount of time. Moreover, most businesses want to ensure that their privacy is completely upheld, so they may not trust a simple software to do the trick.
In these instances, a degausser can be used to wipe the hard drive clean of all information. A degausser uses magnets to erase information kept on the computer’s disks and it can wipe out more than one computer at a time.
What to do with erased computers.
Some people simply throw their old computers in the trash, but many cities and states have implemented rules to get rid of them. Some cities will fine their residents if they throw their computers in the trash. These cities have set up designated places, such as big name retailers or recycling corporations, to take the these items and dispose of them correctly. These places will not erase your computers, so you need to make sure they’re erased prior to dropping them off.
Before disposing of your computer, you need to take the proper steps to ensure that all of your information has been erased. Too many scam artists have the capabilities to access information from computers that haven’t been properly erased, and this is the last thing you want to happen.
Andreas Svensson is an IT specialist from Sweden with a vast knowledge of electronics and a knack for writing about it. He is also a grammar fanatic and rarely writes without a grammar checker to proof his work and keep it clean, organized, and mistake-free. He recently joined an association of entrepreneurs and is now reaping the benefits.
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