4 Options When Discarding Old Technology

July 28, 2016

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So you’ve gotten yourself some new hardware. That’s great, but what are you going to do with your old equipment? You need to make sure that you’re handling your old technology properly, and there may be ways for your old hardware to find a second life. Before chucking it in the trash, first consider your options.

Be Sure to Take Care of Your Data
First off, no matter what you end up doing with your old hardware, if you’re dealing with a hard drive previously used to store important files, then you need to take steps to ensure that this data won’t be recovered and fall into the wrong hands. The common mistake made here is for users to think that just deleting the files by way of emptying the Recycle Bin is enough. This simply isn’t the case, seeing as many of these deleted files can still be recovered.

Instead, before passing an old computer on to someone else, you’ll first want to make sure that the hard drive gets wiped–a procedure that truly erases everything. Also, if you decide to throw your equipment in the trash, it’s best practice to first physically destroy the hard drive so that it can’t be found by a tech-savvy dumpster diver (which isn’t as farfetched as it sounds). For example, this can be accomplished by putting the hard drive under a drill press or sledge hammer. To know for sure that you’re properly taking care of your old hard drive, be sure to consult IT professionals.

Donate Your Old Hardware to a Good Cause
It feels good to give to charity (not to mention the tax incentives), and there are likely some great non-profit organizations in your community that would find your old hardware to be useful. However, if your old equipment is on its last leg, then it would be better for you to dispose of it so that you’re not burdening them with your junk. Be sure to talk with a representative from the charity before showing up with a truckload of old computers.

If you are passing on your old equipment, one way that you can both protect your data and make sure that they’re getting working technology is to swap out the old hard drive for a new one. New hard drives are generally inexpensive, and seeing as the average hard disk drive has a lifespan of five years, you don’t want to gift an old computer that could essentially crash at any time.

Reuse and Repurpose Your Old Hardware for Around the Office
If there’s still some life in your old equipment, you may be able to find a use for it around the office. Here are some examples:

  • Using an old computer for a print or fax server will take some stress off of your network, though it would require reconfigurations to be made.
  • Keeping the computer on hand for spare parts.
  • Keeping an operational workstation on hand as a spare PC, just in case an operational PC runs into an issue and needs to be swapped out temporarily.

Be Sure to Recycle
When it comes to disposing of old technology, we highly recommend that you recycle it. Computer components are made up of some highly toxic metals that can damage the environment if tossed into a landfill. Instead, old computer equipment needs to be disposed of properly and recycled in a special way. Contact CTN for a referral for trustworthy recycling companies.

Your technology is important, both in how you use it and how you dispose of it. To go over these technology disposal options with our knowledgeable IT technicians, contact us today.

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