by Christina DesMarais for Techlicious
Before You Throw Away that Old PC
Have an old computer lying around the house? Don’t just throw it away. Computers house all sorts of toxins that are bad for the environment and all of us who live in it. Not to mention the personal information—passwords, account numbers, license keys or registration numbers for software programs, addresses and phone numbers, medical and prescription information, tax returns and other personal documents—that you would rather not fall into the wrong hands.
So what to do?
How to delete your personal information
However you choose to dispose of your computer, you need to do several things if you don’t want a stranger to access your data.
Save important files
Back up your files or transfer them to a new computer. While you can certainly invest in an external drive, the simplest way to do this is to use a cloud service such as Google Drive or Microsoft’s SkyDrive. Google Drive gives you 5GB of storage for free and if you need more you can buy 25GB for $2.49 a month and 100GB for $4.99 a month. SkyDrive gives you 7GB of free storage with options to buy 20GB, 50GB or 100GB for annual subscriptions of $10, $25 or $50 respectively. Apple iCloud and Dropbox offer similar packages.
After backing up your files in the cloud, you can easily transfer them to a new machine or access them anywhere you have an Internet connection, even from your smartphone. Cloud storage also comes in handy if your computer dies and you need to restore your files or you’re traveling and need access to data on a different device.
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