Play It Safe, Erase Data Before Recycling Electronics

By: Consumer Reports Email
By: Consumer Reports Email

If you're ready to get rid of an old computer, Consumer Reports says it's essential to make sure all of your information is erased first.

Heather Feldman likes to stay current with all the new electronics coming out. She said, "We purchase new electronics all the time, because our kids are getting older, they need more electronics."

However, Heather isn't sure how to get rid of all of her old devices and keep her personal information safe.

Rich Fisco with Consumer Reports said, "Everything from financial documents to photos, you want to make sure to delete all that information before you give it or sell it to anyone else."

On many tablets there are built-in ways to wipe data. For example, on the iPad, go to "settings" and select "general." You will then look for the "reset" option. In the next window, choose "erase all content." A box will appear asking you to confirm you want to erase.

Many newer laptops also have built-in systems. To check and see if yours is one of them, go to the settings in the control panel and choose "change PC settings." In the next window, click on "recovery." Underneath the heading "remove everything" and "install windows," click on "get started." In the box that comes up, click on "fully clean my drive."

Fisco added, "If you don't have any ways built into the device that can securely wipe the data for you, you're going to have to use a third-party application."

Consumer Reports recommends D-Ban, which you can download for free at It's easy to use and will take care of erasing all your personal data.

In addition to erasing all data from computers and phones, Consumer Reports reminds us to also erase data from gaming systems.

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