Cyber Security Awareness Month - Day 9 - Disposal of an Old Computer

Published: 2010-10-09
Last Updated: 2010-10-11 17:29:19 UTC
by Kevin Shortt (Version: 1)
7 comment(s)

We have all needed to dispose of unused computers at home and the office.  I would like to encourage each of you to consider a responsible choice that helps the environment while at the same time safeguarding yourself, your company and your data.

Before disposing of any computer please consider the following as they may be helpful:
  • Save all important documents off onto a secure removable storage device, preferably encrypted media.
  • Wherever possible, extract any software license keys for reusable software.
  • Wipe your hard disk with Kill Disk, Boot and Nuke or like software.  I typically keep/destroy my drives, but before I do I will wipe them by attaching them to another computer with my handy hard drive adapter kit.  The adapter kit allows me to attach SATA/IDE drives to any computer through the USB port. (It's handy...and has bailed me out many times.)
  • Remove any reusable cables or parts such as a network card. (A backup NIC is always handy...)
  • Remove any batteries and recycle them properly.

Here is a list of URL's of the recycling programs from some of the well known players in the computing industry.  Mileage will vary based on your needs.  I have used Best Buy's program for no other reason than its convenience and accessibility.  Many other's have different things to offer.  Review them all and see which suits you. 


Lenovo (IBM)
Best Buy







Donating your computer is always a good choice as well.  However, remember if you choose to donate any computer there are things that should be done to prevent harm to you or your company and exposing sensitive data. You will read more on Securing a Donated Computer another day. That is the topic for Day 16, stay tuned...

Please comment below if you know any additional steps or resources out there to assist in computer disposal and as always contact us via our contact form.  Any sites that help out for countries other than the US would be great to share.

Kevin Shortt
ISC Handler on Duty



7 comment(s)


There are Recycle Groups for just about everywhere. Used computers are a hot item.
Give it a new lease of life by installing a Linux distro. Plenty of life in the old dog. It'll keep someone browsing and emailing for years
As posted above, I try to re-purpose after using an application that meets DOD standards to wipe. If I can not re-purpose internally, then I look for an outside nonprofit to try to donate to. If the computer is going to an outside entity, the HD comes out. As cheap as HDs are now, they can buy a new one. The old HD gets physically destroyed after wiping. 5.56mm method
What's the Curie temperature of modern recording surfaces? An hour in a good hot pizza oven ought to render the magnetics randomized. Besides, it'll desolder all the surface mount components as well. :-)
Sounds cute, but be careful about coating the inside of your pizza oven with heavy metals (lead) and other toxins!
Also, if you don't know how to wipe your data from your hard disk the places listed above will do it for you. It's convenient for those that are not necessarily computer savy.
EcoSquid is a web search platform that helps consumers identify the best options to resell, recycle, or donate new and used electronics. EcoSquid enables consumers to find opportunities to earn cash for electronics that have value, or recycling or donation options for those that do not.

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