What You Need to Do Before Getting Rid of Your Old Laptop or Computer

Getting a new computer can be an exciting experience, but it does mean you’ll need to figure out what to do with your old machine. If you’re not going to keep the old computer or laptop around, there are steps you should take before disposing of the device. Below are four steps that will help you to dispose of your computer properly.

Back Up Your Data

One of the first things you need to do upon deciding to get rid of your computer is to backup all of your personal data. Anything that needs to come over to your new computer should be moved on to some kind of storage device—whether it’s an external hard-drive or into the cloud doesn’t matter, but you definitely need to make sure your most important files will still be accessible. It’s usually recommended that you back up all of your important files at least twice and onto two different mediums.

Erase Personal Information

Once you’ve got your personal information removed, it’s time to erase everything of your own. Delete the files off of the hard-drive, and then restore your machine to factory settings. It doesn’t hurt to defragment the drive, either—if you can take all three of those steps, you’ll stop anyone who isn’t incredibly dedicated and/or technologically savvy from accessing your personal information.

Look at the Hardware

Depending on your own level of tech-savvy and your plans for the machine’s future, you may also want to look into salvaging some of the hardware from the device. You may, for example, want to pull out RAM if it is compatible with your new machine or save your hard-drives for storage later on. The more comfortable you are with the process of building and modifying computers, the more components you might want to keep around.

Consider Disposal Methods

Finally, look into how you’re going to dispose of the machine. A computer shouldn’t just be thrown in the dump—there are proper places to dispose of your machine. Contact a local shop to find out about laptop recycling or places that you can drop off old computers. Old machines can present a significant environmental hazard, so make sure you dispose of them properly.

Don’t just toss your old machine away—make sure that you recover the parts and data that you want, and that everything else is removed safely. It doesn’t take long to get what you need, and proper disposal really isn’t that hard. Once you’re done with your old machine, you can move on to finding your next device.

Addy R
Addy Reeds is a freelance author from a small town in Oregon. She has a passion for journalism and makes her living as a writer. When not working away at her computer, she enjoys spending time with her cat, Finn, and her dog, Fry.
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