If you're in the market to get rid of your laptop or desktop getting it ready to be sold or recycled can be just as important as where you go to do it. Today most laptops are using the Windows 7 operating system as it's been around for the past 5 years until Windows 8 was released this year. This means almost everyone is using this operating system so we're going to show you the best things to do so your computer is all ready to be taken care of. Whether it's your internet cookies or photos no one wants their information getting into a strangers hands so if you're not sure who is going to see it get this all taken care of before hand. A business might charge you anywhere from $40-200 to take care of these easy tasks so let Quick Laptop Cash save you money with our How To DIY features.
The first thing you need to decide is where is the computer going? To a trusted recycler who offers to remove all of this for you? A local donation center where anyone and everyone has access to it? Or to the scrap pile because it doesn't even work? Finding out exactly what you're doing with your broken laptop or desktop will be the first step because it could save you a ton of work! Some companies who recycle them offer to erase information for free on every order!
If you're having trouble picking who to choose we have also done a review of the best places for recycling these items so we'd recommend reading if it's better to recycle online, locally or other choices for you.
Erase Your Password, Log ins, and Browser History
The first thing you'll want to clear out from your computer is all your internet cookies and saved passwords. Now depending on what browser you're using Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox, etc. they're all a little different. Most are very similar that in the top right corner of your browser there is the settings area, it will either be a gear, multiple lines like a paper or something similar. Once you have clicked that a menu will drop down and you can go into the settings tab. You will see options for un-syncing your email and computer, erasing browsing history and much more. The important ones to reset are “saved log ins and passwords” as well as “browsing history and cookies” so they can't see what websites you've visited. Get those saved bookmarks while you're in there and then un-sync the account and you're all set. Do it for multiple browsers if you've tried to switch between them.
Next Erase Your Photos, Videos, Documents and Spreadsheets
Too many times I have seen a laptop come in with photos of social security numbers, credit cards (both front and back) and anything else you can think of. While most people wouldn't do anything with these photos there is a chance for identity theft, fraud and tons of other problems so don't put yourself at risk, throw it all away in the trash can and EMPTY it when done. If your photos weren't bad enough people need to be careful of what documents they've left behind, last years tax forms, job resumes, client lists and more! These items will have your social security number, private client information like phone numbers, address and all sorts of items we don't want people seeing. Make sure you go through here and clean these folders out as well because it all adds up in the wrong hands.
Downloads and Desktop Fodlers
We aren't quite done yet! Remember all of those things you downloaded online? They're all still saved in your computer too. You have a folder called “downloads” so head in there and make sure it's all cleaned out with the rest of them. There can be saved websites in here as well so don't even let them see where you've been visiting. Deleting all of these items is going to protect your personal and financial security so take the few extra minutes to get each and every folder.
Double Check all Folders
You're doing this all for your personal safety so take a second and go back through each folder to ensure nothing was missed. If you want it all deleted you can open the folder and use CTRL + A to highlight everything at once! Drag it to your trash can and empty the recycling bin. It is really very simple and makes it next to impossible for the common criminal to steal your information.
The only passwords that really matter are the BIOS password, Hard drive password and computer log in password. These three passwords will make it a nightmare to deal with your computer and if it's an Apple product like a Macbook Air, Macbook Pro or anything running their newer OSX or IOS deactivate the account! If your email and password is still stored then the new owner won't be able to do anything and it will essentially be a paper weight.
Now that you've ensured your machine is all wiped and ready to go enjoy the profit you make off an old electronic device and know your Windows 7 machine has been cleaned of all personal data. I personally do this with all of my devices before selling them, donating them or even letting people borrow them because they might lose it or have it get stolen and now all of your information is out there for a criminal. With identity theft on the rise I'll take the extra time to delete my data so it's not all saved and stored on a computer waiting for someone to stumble upon. Be safe and keep that E-waste out of our land fills and dumps!