Can I throw away my old computer?

So the old desktop or laptop is dead huh? It's time to replace it with a shiny new model. You might get really excited to chuck that old one, right up to the point your environment conscious angel asks..."Should you be throwing that computer away? Don't you think it can hurt the environment?" and then the privacy police show up.” Hey bud, (or budette as it were :-) ) is your private information still on the hard drive even though you have deleted it?” Both are valid questions worth exploring. What should you do with your old computer? Let's take a look.

Computers have parts inside that should not be thrown away on a whim. They even contain a battery on the motherboard. The components inside a computer can contain mercury, lead, and other harmful contaminants. They are not suited to be thrown away as a whole.
In this day and age recycling is forefront in any reputable computer business. Sometimes they can take the junk and use old parts, then pass it on to a recycle business, or they will recommend whom to take it to.

You might ask yourself: Is my private information still on my old computer?

Data lives on the hard drive of computers. Your hard drive is in the computer tower, and if you don't know anything about that, contact a reputable computer business to help you.
Identity theft is a growing problem. I, as well as the majority of my colleagues, have recommended NEVER letting your hard drive leave your house. I don't want to make you paranoid so be reasonable with yourself on this subject. Thieves have to have opportunity, knowledge, and motive. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to get your information off of the hard drive, but it can't be done by just anybody either.
What should you do then? Since hard drives are easy to store, it is very easy to have a REPUTABLE computer tech remove your information as erased as it can truly be, then store your hard drive at home.
If you decide to not keep the hard drive after the erasing is done, drill several holes in the hard drive before giving it to a computer business to recycle. DO NOT make the mistake of believing a hard drive is probably too old after sitting on the shelf for a long period of time. There is no reason a hard drive won't hold information indefinitely (barring destroying the information).

Happy Computing
Fern Wood Computer Services