frugal living

How to Prepare Computers for Resell or Donation


I am sure you have seen on the news, in the paper or on social media sites that identify thieves are on the rise. I don’t know about you but I am concerned about my privacy and the information thieves can access. I shred all bills, bank statements, school report cards, immunization records, credit card offers and anything else that could help a thief learn about me or obtain my identity or access to my accounts. The one thing I wasn’t doing was protecting me when I donated or sold a used computer. If protecting your identity is important to you then read on, you won’t want to miss this information.

When you sell or donate anything electronic that can store personal information you’ve got to take precautions and erase the information before passing the device onto the next person. Often time’s people just think it’s a matter of pressing the delete button but that’s not the case and the information can still be accessed. You leave yourself and your family vulnerable to identity theft and unauthorized account access. Cleaning up the mess a thief has left behind after he steals your identity is brutal and extremely costly.
Step 1: Back up all your files. You want to make sure you have everything you are going to need from the old computer. There’s several ways to do this. If you have only a couple files you need to keep then use a cloud drive or drop box. If you need to backup all of your files then do a full backup using the software on your computer and then transfer the data to a drive.
Step 2: Make sure to deauthorize any used software that you plan to keep, that way once it’s reinstalled to the new computer you won’t have problems activating it. Plus, you don’t want to leave any software on the old computer that has personal information.
Step 3: Securely wipe your hard drive clean, this will remove the operating system so you must have an operating system CD to reinstall. If you don’t have an operating CD then check your computer under “restore” to see if you have an option of burning a copy of your operating system for reinstall. If you don’t have an operating system CD then I would take your computer to a repair shop, it will be less expensive to use them verses purchasing an operating system.
Step 4: The final step is to reinstall new operating system using the CD you had or burnt in step 3. The new operating system will not show any of your past information. It will be a clean computer ready for sale or donation.

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