After servicing you for years on end without any complains or anything, your computer is now due for a retirement. Of course, the decision still rests on you as the rightful owner of the electronic device. However, if you feel that you are ready to let go and replace, sell or donate your good ol 'trusted machine, you should note that before it leaves your possession, everything on its hard drive should be totally eradicated and erased. This would prevent other people from accessing your private information and use them for identity theft activities.
Before you unplug your computer for the very last time, you will manually delete all your files that are saved in the drive. Another option would be to perform a format on all the drives that are built into your computer. What you should remember though is the fact that although you've already deleted the file through manual deletion or formatting, a computer expert, hacker or identity theft criminal may still be able to recover these files which can then put you and your family in a very compromising situation.
Here's a list of the files that you should remove before you sell, donate or dispose off your computer:
1. Documents-everything and not just word documents.
2. Messages that might have been saved using your email client.
3. Email contacts for the safety of you and your friends.
4. Every file in the trash folder or recycle bin.
5. Temporary internet files, especially if you perform a lot of financial transactions online.
There are a number of options that you can do to create a safer environment for you and data. Here are some:
1. Some operating systems allow their users to remove the important files on the disk and wipe out the data on the drive totally. It would still be advised that you use a third party application to perform the clean-up process.
2. Contact technical service when you need help. You can always try to call the computer manufacturer's technical support team and ask how you can safely delete your personal information and other files in the computer (you might need to have your computer covered by warranty to perform this).
3. Bring your computer to your near computer store and have them overwrite the files in your drive. This might cost you a significant amount of money but the benefits will allow you to reap more.
After cleaning up your computer, the next problem that you will encounter is what you will do with computer. Again, there are a lot of options that you can consider in disposing off your personal computer. You can donate your computer through various agencies for the homeless and less fortunately while most still still be interested in your unit.
You can also consider reselling. Sellers are often not aware of bad conditions into the computer that might potentially be the cause of a merchandise return due to malfunction.