Let’s say you just upgraded to a new computer or laptop – what happens to your old one? Some will donate their to charity, many liquidate to apps like LetGo and OfferUp or at a local pawn shop, and some others sell theirs online on platforms like Craigslist or Ebay. But what about your private data that still resides on you old machine’s hard drive? As it turns out, many consumers and small businesses don’t think twice about what they’re discarding, and more importantly – what can be done with the information.

Some charities will offer to wipe contents on donated machines, as will many pawn shops. After all, they want the computers to function “like new” for the next owner. However, this outcome isn’t always the case. In many scenarios, computers get quickly “refreshed” by adding a new user account and deleting previous users. Other times, users will simply do a quick sweep and delete their personal files found in the desktop, documents and pictures folders. And sometimes, nothing is deleted at all! *GASP*

None of the above data removal tactics can be trusted to do anything to keep your confidential data safe. Basic freeware programs can “undelete” recently trashed items, a system restore can bring your computer back in time, and just being savvy and knowing where to look can uncover existing user accounts with a plethora of information. Login passwords, email threads, financial statements, tax returns, family pictures, web accounts – the list goes on and on. Anything you’ve ever saved on your machine is at potential risk for hackers, phishers, and even a curious buyer on Ebay or Craigslist. So what can you do?

The ultimate way to ensure your data is never compromised is to completely destroy the system’s hard drive disk. Pick your weapon of destruction – any drill, hammer or saw will work. Right through the middle or off-center and it’s RIP. But still, this devalues the computer to anyone looking to buy it or take it as a donation – as it will need a new disk ($50-$90 on average) and a new operating system ($40-$125) to function again. The alternative?

Bring it to a trusted professional! Pinellas Computers can securely and fully wipe your confidential information from old computers, and even migrate your data from your old computer to your new one. Then you can sell it fully-functioning anywhere you’d like for top dollar, with the peace of mind knowing your data is cleared. Have an older machine that’s not worth much? We’ll also take donated and recyclable old computers free of charge. We work to refurbish or part-out the old machines in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, and will make sure parts don’t end up in the dump or worse – in the wrong hands. All computers that are recycled or donated are ensured to have their drive’s professionally and properly wiped and or destroyed.