Have an old computer laying around? Before you clear up space in your home, clear your computer of private data. From financial to personal information, your computer holds a lot of information about you. Learn how to remove information from your computer so it doesn’t end up in the hands of an identity thief.
Backup Your Information
Before you clear your computer, make sure you have a backup of any files you need. Think about what information you want to save, such as important documents, photos or videos. Also keep in mind how much storage space you will need to save all your backed up information. Knowing what information you want to keep and how much space you’ll need will help make it easier for you to choose the best solution for backing up your data.
Solution 1: Transfer Your Files to Your New Computer
If you bought a new computer to replace your old one, you can transfer your information. If you need help transferring your files, visit your computer’s manufacturer’s website.
Solution 2: Save Your Files in the Cloud
Many providers give you some free storage space and let you pay for more such as Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and iCloud. Providers of cloud storage use encryption to protect your data by hiding the contents of the file. If cloud storage is the best option for you, find out what level of privacy and security different services offer.
Solution 3: Save Your Files to an External Storage Device
Choose which files or folders you want to back up with a USB flash drive or an external hard drive. A USB flash drive is an affordable option that offers a moderate amount of storage. If you’re needing a lot of storage, look into an external hard drive. It may cost you more, but it gives you more storage capacity and transfers data faster.
Erase Your Hard Drive
Next, you should erase your computer’s hard drive. Your operating system comes with a program that will let you erase all your files from the hard drive whether you own a PC, Chromebook, or Mac, and reset it to factory settings.
Dispose of Your Computer
If you’re thinking about recycling your computer, keep in mind many contain hazardous materials that don’t belong in a landfill. See the Environmental Protection Agency’s Electronics Donation and Recycling page to learn more about whether you should recycle or donate your computer. You could also check with your computer’s manufacturer or a local electronics store.Now that you’ve cleared your personal data from your computer and backed your information up, learn how to protect and maintain your new computer system.