Safety Tips for Recycling Computers, Smartphones, and Tablets

old data

Today’s businesses upgrade their computers, smartphones, tablets and laptops every few years.

But, what happens to your old equipment and the data stored on these devices? If your business uses an electronic recycling company, it’s your responsibility to ensure your hard drives are wiped clean.

Most electronic recyclers refurbish the different devices and sell them in other countries. The data stored on these devices isn’t deleted or wiped clean. Therefore, your company’s data is at risk when you recycle your old electronics. 

Before recycling, selling, trading in, or donating your computers or laptops follow these steps.

  1. Backup all data on your hard drive.
  2. Remove your primary hard drive from your computer and attach it to an external USB device.
  3. From another computer, install a professional disk wiping program that meets the U.S. Department of Defense’s Media Sanitation Guidelines.  
  4. Run the data wipe program on the external hard drive.
  5. Delete all partitions on the hard drive, including the hidden partition to restore your computer.
  6. When wiping your hard drive, select the option to fill the hard drive with 0’s or random characters.
  7. Remove any data storage drives from your computer. 

Professional hard drive cleaners will randomly fill your hard drive with 0’s or random characters. Once the sectors on your hard drive contain 0’s or random characters your personal data cannot be retrieved using a data recovery program. This is the safest way to wipe your hard drive and all your company’s data. Never trust a recycling company to erase your hard drive. Also, formatting your hard drive is not safe. A formatted hard drive can have the information retrieved by professional’s using data recovery software. 

Before recycling, selling, or upgrading your smartphones or tablets follow these steps. 

  1. Backup your personal data to your computer or cloud service.
  2. When changing your device notify your service provider that your old device is no longer in use.
  3. Delete and overwrite all your passwords for Pins, OTPs, Wi-Fi, personal accounts, websites, banking, and apps.
  4. Delete and overwrite your security settings for your unlock pattern, remove access keys or passwords, facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and VPN login.
  5. Delete all your personal information, text, messages, photos, and social networking profiles.
  6. Delete your Bluetooth peripheral device settings.
  7. Remove your SIM card and extra SD memory card.
  8. Delete all information stored on the internal SD memory card.
  9. Use a professional data eraser app to completely erase your Smartphone.
  10. Reset your phone back to factory default setting. Before resetting your phone use the app to wipe your device. Special apps for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, sybian, and Windows can be downloaded from their app store. 

If your personal information is important to you always sanitize your devices. Other options are available to sanitize your devices. Drive eRazer Ultra can safely sanitize your hard drive. You may also remove your hard drive from your device and send it to a professional hard drive shredding service. The service will physically destroy your hard drive.  

Image: flickr.com


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