Protect your online ID Your old computer

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This article, Protect your online ID, was last updated on 23 July 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Technology articles.

A computer in a skip

Physically destroying the hard drive is the safest option

What’s the safest way to dump my old computer?

If you are going to sell, give away or dump your old computer, take care to remove all sensitive information.

Your hard disk could contain a lot of data that you want to keep private, and even if you rigorously delete everything or completely reformat it, there’s still a possibility that someone could recover all kinds of personal info.

There are several file shredding utilities available (such as Kill Disk, which is available, free), that claim to eradicate all traces of deleted files from your system.

The safest way to ensure your privacy is to physically remove the hard disk from your system and either destroy it or keep it safely filed away somewhere, as you might do with your archive of paper documents.