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Posted May 3rd, 2011

Destroy your data before you recycle!

With the holidays behind us, many companies in the computer recycling industry will start what we like to call: the spring collection event season.  I’m sure you’ve seen, read or heard about these events going on in your community.  Over the holidays, many people replaced different electronics including computers.  Laptops continue to be a hot item each holiday, mostly because of their size.  People buy laptops to replace large computers, downsize the space you need, or upgrade the speed of the system.  If you fast forward 10 years from now, large bulky desktops could all be gone.

If you are one of the millions of people who replaced a large desktop with a small laptop this holiday season, using a local computer recycling collection event is a great way to go green for the holidays. Ok fine, I want to be green but, and this is a big one, I use my computer for work at home, or I have stuff on my computer that I don’t want anyone seeing, tell me, how do I erase this info before it goes to the recycler?

That’s one great question that comes up quite frequently from our customers.  We, at Securis, do offer hard drive shredding for our government, corporate and residential customers, however, it is not free. And I know most of our competition offers similar services.  We get asked all the time how to erase information before it’s recycled.  I think this is mostly because the person or company wants to know that the job is done right.  The information is just too sensitive to trust some company that you hardly know.  And hey, I think that’s a fair deal. I wouldn’t let a stranger pay my bills because they are too important, so I do it myself to make sure it’s done correctly.

Ok, so you want to erase your files correctly before you hand them off to a recycler – great, read more…..

One big thing to note is that taking a file and putting it in the recycling bin in Windows does not delete the information, nor does running F-Disk, or formatting. Somehow, somewhere, someone led us to believe that if we drop something in the recycle or trash bin on the computer then it’s gone forever.  Sorry to tell you, that’s not true.  Why is that?  Because information on hard drives has to be overwritten, technically you can’t delete data on magnetic storage, you can however always overwrite it.   We want to keep this simple so just keep in mind that you need to use a third program to fully delete your data before you get rid of that old computer.

Ok, so how?  It’s easy and cheap to do, sometimes even free.  Well, maybe not easy for everyone, but doable.  Several companies sell or even better give away simple programs that will completely overwrite your data.

If you have a Windows-based computer, here are a few good programs:

Dban Boot and Nuke
Active Kill Disk

If none of the programs work for you, then do a Google search for hard drive erasing.

While the process does take some time, it’s definitely worth the effort. Remember, Securis offers hard drive shredding if the process becomes too complicated.


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