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10 Things to Do Before Recycling Your Laptop or Computer

Don’t throw away your old laptop or computer! You can recycle your laptop or PC and get paid cash for it. By recycling your device, you can eliminate waste and lower your carbon footprint. But it’s not as easy as just passing it onto someone else. You need to protect your sensitive data.

We’d like to assist you by giving you valuable information on 10 tasks you must perform before you announce, I’m ready to recycle or sell my laptop. Keep reading to find out more!

1. Backup and Delete All Data

Since you’ve been using your laptop or computer for quite sometime you’ll have many sensitive files that you’ll want to protect. Some users have folders with passwords and usernames attached to them, or you could have photographs that you don’t want strangers looking at.

So, before you recycle your device back up all your data including:

- Documents such as Word, PDFs and Excel spreadsheets

- Photographs

- Videos

- Work or school-related items

Place all your data on an external hard drive that you can remove from the computer. You can also backup files on platforms such as Google Drive. Then delete all the files from the computer and ensure you empty your recycle bin so no one will ever have access to that data.

2. Take Out Removable Hardware

Removable hardware such as USBs, hard drives or memory cards should be removed from your device. This is especially true if the removable hardware has your personal data on it. However, if you also want to recycle removable hardware you can simply back up your data and delete it from the hardware before doing so.

3. Clean Your Device

Some PC and laptop users recycle their devices by donating them to a recycling business or a charity that may want to use it. If this is what you are doing with yours, rather clean it first.

Years of use can leave the device with thick layers of grime on the keyboard and screen. This isn’t ideal for a recycling process or someone else using the device.

To clean your device simply take a wet wipe that is safe to use on electronics and wipe the device clean. Don’t use cloths that are soaked in water or detergent because it will damage parts that are still in excellent condition.

4. Resetting Different Windows Additions

Each Windows has different settings. So, when you want to reset your device back to its factory setting you can follow these steps for each Windows addition.

Windows 10 Pro

- Click on your search tab in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen

- Search for Settings

- Click on ‘update and security’

- Go to the Recovery option on the left of the screen

- Under ‘Reset this PC’ click on ‘Get Started’

- Select ‘Remove Everything’

Windows 8

- Go to Settings

- Click on Update and Recovery

- Select ‘Reset this PC’

- Click on ‘Fully Clean the Drive’

Windows 7

- Select ‘System and Security’ in the Control Panel

- Click on ‘Back Up and Restore’

- Select ‘Recovery System Settings’

- Click on ‘Advanced Recovery Settings’

- Select ‘Return Your Computer to Factory Condition’

5. Delete Your Browsing History

When you enter a new platform online it will save your browsing history unless you search in Incognito Mode. This means that the next person who uses your device will have access to the sites you visit especially if you’ve saved passwords on these platforms.

Settings may differ depending on the browser you’re using. But if you click on the menu on the side of your browser there will be an option to view your history. Click on this option and then click on ‘Delete History’ or‘Remove Browsing Data’.

6. Uninstall Programs

All the programs you’ve used on your PC or laptop must be removed especially if you’ve used the device for work. Uninstall all apps such as accounting software, gaming programs and password managers.

You may also want to uninstall programs such as Microsoft Office because sometimes they can store sensitive data such as your home address, phone number and name.

7. Sign Out of All Online Accounts

Deleting your browsing history isn’t enough. You should also sign out of all the accounts you’ve created on your laptop or PC. Otherwise, anyone can enter online accounts you’ve signed up for such as Facebook and even your banking app.

8. Destroy Any Sensitive Files

Even though you’ve removed data from your PC or laptop there may still be sensitive documents hidden in certain folders. Go to your download folder and remove any documents you’ve downloaded from your emails or other websites. These files may include tax invoices, proof of payment or statements from your bank.

9. Remove Parts that Are Still Working

There may be parts in your PC such as hard drives or motherboards that are still working. You can remove these components to use on another device that you have. Hard drives that are still in good condition will be useful for extra storage or on your new device.

10. Hard Reset Your Computer

After you’ve removed all data from your laptop you can perform a hard reset. A hard reset is when you return your device back to its factory settings. It removes all applications that are installed and eliminates any personal data from the device.

Although a hard reset can return your laptop or PC back to its original settings it’s always better to backup your data and remove browsing history first. This is simply an extra precautionary measure in case there’s a file that doesn’t get deleted.

Final Thoughts

Always remember to back up your data before performing any of the tasks mentioned above. This is because hard resets can remove all files so you’ll lose data that you may need. Once you’ve backed up your data and cleaned the device you’re ready to recycle it.

Your device may be useful to someone who needs a laptop for work or school. Or there could be a non-profit establishment in desperate need of digital devices. So, let it be used for good. But first, use this article as a guide before handing your laptop over to someone new.

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