Back-up your data

The back-up device depends on how much data you have. The most popular ways are:

Delete your data

Deleting your files and emptying the recycle bin doesn't remove them from your hard drive. They can be easily retrieved with the most basic recovery software.

Even formatting your disc will fail to remove your personal data from the hard drive.

There is a range of software available for download which can erase your data. However, just as you erase it, someone could easily download a program to retrieve it.

Demolish your hard drive

If the idea running software fills you with dread . A practical way of getting rid your personal data is to destroy your hard drive.

Remember to backup your data beforehand, if you don't do this then you will lose your data forever.

Removing your hard drive is relatively simple:

  1. Disconnect your PC from any power source.

  2. Open the casing and locate the hard drive (usually connected to a flat, wide IDE cable).

  3. Undo any screws that secure the hard drive to its wire cage.

  4. Remove the hard drive.

Reduce the hard drive to tiny little pieces. Remember to wear protective goggles or wrap your hard drive in a towel to prevent being struck by flying plastic.

Afterwards, It doesn't matter how you dispose of it - no one will be able to recover any personal data from your drive.

Find your old PC a new home

PCs contain harmful substances like mercury, lead and arsenic so therefore cannot be put in wheelie bins. However, there are a number of ways you can dispose of your computer:

  • Recycle: Your local recycling centre may be able to take it. Contact them to find out if they will accept it.

  • Sell it: If your PC still works, you can list it on sites like eBay. Don't worry if you have removed the hard drive as they are relatively inexpensive to replace.

  • Donate it: Charities like Computer Aid International refurbish your old computer and send them to developing countries. You can also hand it to a local youth club, school or give it away using sites such as Freecycle.