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How to wipe your computer if you are donating or recycling it

DENVER -- Many people have old computers sitting around the house, and they just don’t know what to do with them.

They might have Social Security numbers, bank information or health information on them. If you want to donate it, recycle it, or give it away, it’s important that none of that is recoverable.

Steve Fox, the CEO of Security Pursuit in Lafayette, says everyone in this situation must erase the hard drive.

“It’s so easy for someone with malicious intent to come get that data,” he said. “If you have restore disks from your original computer, by doing a full restore that`s going to format the hard drive in its basic form and restore the computer to the original settings which wipes the data.”

To be safe, he says there are also software programs than can scrub your hard drive such as DBAN programs.

"This is a program for anywhere from free to $20, a one-time fee, you can buy this program, and it’s going to do a secure wipe, walk you right through it,” he said.

Of course, there are companies that offer to securely wipe or destroy your hard drive for a fee, but if you don’t need your computer to function, you can destroy it yourself.

Just take out the hard drive and drill holes in it, or take a hammer to it.

Places like Blue Star Recycling in Denver say on their website they will shred your hard drive for $12. Plus they accept computers for recycling.  Remember to be environmentally responsible when disposing of your computer, and do not put it in your trash.