Out with the Old (Computer): How to Do It Safely

Did you get a new computer for the holidays? Wondering what to do with your old one?

Since computers often hold personal and financial information, the most important thing you can do is ensure that its hard drive doesn’t become a treasure chest for identity thieves.

For starters, you should understand how your hard drive works. When you save a file, especially a large one, it is scattered around the hard drive in bits and pieces. When you open a file, the hard drive gathers the bits and pieces and reconstructs them. And when you delete a file, the links to reconstruct the file disappear.

But the bits and pieces of the deleted file stay on your computer until they’re overwritten, and they can be retrieved with a data recovery program. To remove data from a hard drive permanently, the hard drive on your discarded computer needs to be wiped clean.

Learn more about how to clean your hard drive and dispose of your computer to help avoid identity theft.

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