How to Destroy an Old Computer


Technology changes so quickly that computers become old and obsolete faster than you want them too. If it is time to purchase a new computer, take special care while getting rid of the old one. Protect your data and the environment as you destroy your computer responsibly.

Things You'll Need

  • Writable CD, writable DVD, or external hard drive
  • White Canyon's WipeDrive CD
  • Protect the data on your old computer. Back up the old information before you destroy the machine. Move all of your important files to a single folder. Name the folder "Back-up." Copy that folder to a CD, DVD or external hard drive, depending on the file's size. A CD holds up to 700 mbs of data. A single layer DVD holds 4 gigs of data. An external hard drive may hold hundreds of gigs of data, if necessary. Check that your data is actually on the new drive before you wipe the old drive clean.

  • Wipe the hard drive clean. Your hard drive contains private information, financial records and personal passwords. Deleting the information alone does not protect you. For added protection, format the drive. Use White Canyon's WipeDrive program to completely protect yourself. If you still do not feel comfortable, remove the hard drive before you destroy the old computer.

  • Salvage any useful parts. Remove RAM that is still usable. Keep any working hard drives that may be compatible with your new computer. Sell good, usable parts in online auctions. Donate any usable parts you don't want to charity.

  • Locate a refurbisher. If your computer is less than five years old, do not destroy it yet. Donate the remaining parts to a refurbisher. They use your old computer parts to build computers for schools and other charities.

  • Find a recycling center. If your computer is more than five years old, destroy your old computer responsibly. Computers contain harmful chemicals and plastics that are not biodegradable. Putting a computer in a landfill or burning it are not appropriate choices. Call computer dealers to see if they have a recycling program. Locate an online recycling program such as Creative Recycling to recycle your computer for a fee.

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