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Replacing Your PC? Wipe Your Hard Drive!

There aren’t a lot of purchases that deliver the immediate and sustained satisfaction as purchasing a new computer. Perhaps you’ve finally had your fill of slow load times and endless spinning progress wheels. Or maybe you’re upgrading because your needs have changed and your current PC simply can’t handle the new workload. Whatever the reason for upgrading, the dopamine rush you feel when powering it up for the first time is very satisfying.  But you should know that your old PC is a liability until you wipe your hard drive.

Moving On

What do you plan to do with your older PC? There are a lot of options. Sometimes, it can be handy to keep an older computer around as a backup or media PC. Many families use a hand-me-down system for computers, giving everybody a bit of an upgrade. When it makes sense, we always recommend donating old computers to community organizations. You could, of course, sell it to cover a little of the cost of its replacement. Or, if your old workhorse is so far behind the times (or broken beyond recovery) that it’s good for nothing but scrap, you can even recycle your PC.

If the PC is leaving your home or going to someone who isn’t security-savvy, the hard drive should be wiped. “Of course,” you might say. “I know perfectly well not to put my personal data in the hands of someone I can’t trust. I’ll make sure to delete all my personal files before handing it over.” We applaud your attention to file security, but when your physical hard drive changes hands, we need to take things up a notch.

When Deletion Isn’t Enough

We’ll spare you the gory details, but the short of it is: deleting a file doesn’t clear all traces of it from the hard drive. This often comes in handy, as we’ve helped many customers recover important documents and photos that were deleted by accident. However, it also means all sorts of personal information can be found long after you thought you’d deleted it. Contrary to popular belief, not even reformatting a drive will reliably clear it of all data!

So, how can you be confident all traces of your personal data have been removed from the hard drive before it changes hands? You need to wipe your hard drive. And you’ll need special software to get the job done. Obviously, as this will destroy all data on the drive, you need to do a little prep work before starting.

First and foremost: make sure your new PC is on hand and ready to go. We know that’s obvious, but you’ll really be kicking yourself if you find yourself stranded without a working computer. Second, ensure you’ve backed up all your important files like music, photos, documents, password databases, etc. to another drive. Next, ensure you have all the product keys, install files, etc., for software you’ve purchased and will install on the new PC.

Once everything you want to keep has been rounded up and backed up, it’s wipin’ time. This process can vary depending on the software and methods you choose, so we won’t get into those specifics here. Just find a tried-and-true Data Destruction Software program (Darik’s Boot and Nukeis a popular choice, and free!) and follow the instructions carefully.

We know the process to wipe your hard drive can be a little daunting, so don’t hesitate to contact Friendly PCif you need a hand!