How To Securely Destroy Your Old PC

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If you’ve ever upgraded from an old, out-of-date PC, chances are you’ve either given it away or taken it to a local tip or perhaps even binned it. Have you ever thought about the amount of sensitive data that could still be lurking on there?

Whilst businesses are getting better at disposing of old PCs without leaving confidential business or customer data on the harddrives, there’s still a large number of us risking data loss when we get rid of our own PCs.

Whilst the risks might be small, it’s definitely worth destroying your harddrive to ensure no-one can read data off it, whether they’re simply a legitimate recipient of your old hardware, or whether they’ve deliberately fished it out of the local tip to use it for nefarious purposes.

Take a little time to think about the files on your PC and what info they contain that could help them steal your identity or access your email account, social networking or perhaps even online banking. Do you store your CV on your PC or keep your bank balances and investment portfolio in a spreadsheet, for example?

TechRadar has a how-to on securely destroying your data, which includes tips on using both software to hide the data stored on your harddrive, along ideas for preventing the hardware from ever working again.

For a simple DIY solution, wipe the drive using Darik’s Boot and Nuke and then drill through the body of the hard drive several times to destroy it.

It’s worth remembering that if you are getting rid of a PC, it is  really only the harddrive that stores the potentially sensitive data. And these can often be reused as a second harddrive in your new PC, so rather than destroying it, it might be worth keeping it running and using it to give you extra storage space/backup on your new PC – no need to worry about destroying that senstive data in this case.

Creative Commons License photo credit: DijutalTim

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