Getting rid of an old PC? Do this first

Do you have any old computers that you need to get rid of? Before you donate or recycle them, you must make sure that the data on them has been properly wiped.   

Why is it important?

If the data isn’t wiped properly, someone with malicious intentions could get you or your clients’ personal information off an old, discarded drive. To stay compliant, your business is likely required to SECURELY destroy sensitive client information that may have been stored on your old computer.  

Can’t I just delete the files or reformat the hard drive?

Nope! Simply deleting your old files or reformatting the hard drive is not enough. When you delete files on a computer, you’re not really deleting them. Instead, those files just get hidden in the file viewer and marked as able to be overwritten. The next time you save a file, it could be saved in the same spot as the data you deleted, but until that happens, it’s still possible to recover that data.

Here’s a plausible scenario that you’ll want to avoid: Let’s say you have a computer you want to get rid of. You turn it on, delete anything important, and empty the recycle bin. Then, you donate it or throw it away. Someone who wants to steal personal data for malicious purposes, such as identity theft, may then get a hold of your discarded computer. By using a basic data recovery program, they could locate any personal files or documents that you thought you had deleted! This doesn’t require much technical knowledge on their part, all they need is a free program off the internet and bad intentions. Your data would now be compromised. If you have many clients whose personal information you had stored, your situation could even be orders of magnitude worse.

What is the correct way to wipe a hard drive?

The actual process of wiping a hard drive is not complicated! A software application is used that will go through the entire hard drive multiple times and overwrite each space in memory with random data. This process can take a long time to finish, but at the end of it, you’ll have a securely wiped hard drive that you can donate with total peace of mind.

Kitsap Networking Services and Sequim I.T. can make this easy for you – just drop off your old PC and we’ll make sure it’s securely wiped. You don’t need to take out the hard drive yourself, just bring in your whole PC and we’ll take care of it for you. No need to come pick up your old PC once we’re done with the wipe, either, we can get rid of it for you!