So you’ve gotten yourself some new hardware. That’s great, but what are you going to do with your old equipment? You need to make sure that you’re handling your old technology properly, and there may be ways for your old hardware to find a second life. Before chucking it in the trash, first consider your options.
Be Sure to Take Care of Your Data
First off, no matter what you end up doing with your old hardware, if you’re dealing with a hard drive previously used to store important files, then you need to take steps to ensure that this data won’t be recovered and fall into the wrong hands. The common mistake made here is for users to think that just deleting the files by way of emptying the Recycle Bin is enough. This simply isn’t the case, seeing as many of these deleted files can still be recovered.
Instead, before passing an old computer on to someone else, you’ll first want to make sure that the hard drive gets wiped--a procedure that truly erases everything. Also, if you decide to throw your equipment in the trash, it’s best practice to first physically destroy the hard drive so that it can’t be found by a tech-savvy dumpster diver (which isn’t as farfetched as it sounds). For example, this can be accomplished by putting the hard drive under a drill press or sledge hammer. To know for sure that you’re properly taking care of your old hard drive, be sure to consult IT professionals.
Donate Your Old Hardware to a Good Cause
It feels good to give to charity (not to mention the tax incentives), and there are likely some great non-profit organizations in your community that would find your old hardware to be useful. However, if your old equipment is on its last leg, then it would be better for you to dispose of it so that you’re not burdening them with your junk. Be sure to talk with a representative from the charity before showing up with a truckload of old computers.
If you are passing on your old equipment, one way that you can both protect your data and make sure that they’re getting working technology is to swap out the old hard drive for a new one. New hard drives are generally inexpensive, and seeing as the average hard disk drive has a lifespan of five years, you don’t want to gift an old computer that could essentially crash at any time.