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Important Actions To Take Before Recycling Your Computer

Computers have become a part of normal daily life for most Americans today. Work, education, and entertainment options are now routinely available via computer technology, in a variety of forms, including tablets, laptops, desktop personal computers, and smartphones. But because computer technology is constantly improving, devices and computer systems become obsolete just as quickly. For many households, this means finding a way to safely dispose of the outdated or non-working systems that accumulate over time and computer recycling services can be a great choice. If you are planning to send some old computer equipment to a recycling service, however, it is important to make sure that you first take the following actions. 

Remove any files and information 

If the computers are still operable, taking time to power them up and review the files before sending them to the recycling company will ensure that you retain any files or info that you may need later. Computers that are not operable may still be able to yield files or information through the use of recovery software and an external hard drive to collect and store the data. 

Wipe the system 

Removing files you want to keep or those that may contain personal information does not actually remove them from the hard drive, especially on older systems equipped with mechanical hard drives. Instead, deleting files usually only marks them for overwriting with other data, making the original data easily recoverable by cybercriminals who want to steal personal information and identities. 

Instead of just deleting files and data, computer owners will want to take the extra step of wiping the hard drive on their systems using software or doing a complete reset of the operating system. If the computer is not able to boot up and operate normally to complete this process, computer owners should consider opening the case of their system and removing their hard drive to enable them to store or dispose of it separately from the system. 

Good choices for permanent destruction of a hard drive can be as simple as smashing it with hammer or destroying it with heat, or you can choose to have it professionally degaussed. Because it leaves the hard drive intact, degaussing is often the preferred choice for older systems and may be the preference of many computer recycling centers.  

For more information about the personal computer recycling process and how to prepare your computers before dropping them off, contact a computer recycling expert, such as those found at Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc., in your area.