5 Ways To Safely Dispose Of Old Laptop

Laptops are a crucial part of our lives. We use them for work, entertainment, and staying connected with the world. At some stage, you will need to get rid of your laptop – whether it is time for an upgrade, broken beyond repair, or sitting in a cupboard gathering dust. If you have been using the same laptop for a while, there are likely valuable files on the hard drive that you want to keep safe and prevent other people from accessing.

By cleaning your hard drive and being aware of how to dispose of it safely, you can rest assured that your data is protected. In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of safely dispose of old laptop.

Removing Your Data and Files

  1. Make sure to save any data you want to keep; if you don’t back it up, it will be lost forever when you get rid of the hard drive. Set aside time to go through everything on your computer to determine which files need saving. Here are a few backup methods:
  • Purchase an external hard drive to keep a backup of your data. This will connect to the USB port on your computer and enable you to transfer any files you want to save. If you ever get a new computer, plug the hard drive in and copy the files.
  • Store your computer files remotely with a service like Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox. All of these have options for online storage that will give you ample space to save your most crucial files, though some may charge a fee if you need to store extensive data.
  1. Before uninstalling any programs, deauthorize them from your old computer. Many software licenses only allow for a certain number of installations, so you’ll want to ensure you don’t exceed that limit. To do this in iTunes, click “Account” in the top bar and select “Deauthorize This Computer.”
  • To deauthorize your computer in Adobe products, please select “Help,” then “Deactivate,” and finally, “Deactivate Permanently.”
  • Some de-authorization programs will be different than others. If you aren’t sure how to deauthorize a particular program, check online for instructions.
  1. To be extra safe, find and delete any sensitive files before starting the hard drive reformatting process. It includes legal documents, personal pictures, or anything else that could cause problems if it falls into the wrong hands.
  • Fortunately, many software programs (like CCleaner for Windows) will completely erase these types of files from your computer.
  • This functionality is built into most Mac computers. With all the files you want to delete in the trash can, hold down the command key and click on the trash can icon. Select “Empty Trash Securely” to safely destroy all files in the trash can.
  1. Delete your browser history to protect your personal information. If you have been using the same web browser on your laptop for an extended period, it has likely saved a lot of passwords and maybe even bank details. You should wipe all this stored data from your computer before throwing it away. Here is how to do so in some different browsers:
  • If you want to clear your Safari history, start by clicking on the “Safari” tab in the upper-left corner of your screen. Next, select “Clear History” from the drop-down menu that appears. Finally, ensure that “all history” is selected and click on the “Clear History” button at the bottom of the resulting window.
  • Clearing your browsing history in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox takes a few steps. Press Ctrl+Shift+Del to open the window to delete your browsing data. Make sure every box is ticked and the time frame is set to “delete everything.” Finally, click on the delete button in the bottom corner of the window.
  1. Delete all of your programs. Like your internet browser, many other programs save your data to keep you from having to re-enter it multiple times. Examine your programs, eliminate any that store personal data, or delete everything for extra safety.
  • You may store personal data such as your full name and address on your laptop without knowing it. Avoid giving away this information by ensuring programs like Microsoft Word and Excel are not storing it.
  • You may store your credit card information on your computer if you have 7 and wiping your hard drive can be difficult, so make sure you know what you are doing before starting.
  1. If you are no longer using a computer, removing or destroying the hard drive is best. If the machine doesn’t turn on, then you most likely won’t be able to see what’s stored on the disk. In this case, it would be advisable to completely take out the hard drive. Here are some ways you can do so, depending on the type of computer:
  • To remove the hard drive from some older laptops, look for a port on the side of the laptop. You may need to flick a switch to release it, but you should be able to grip it firmly and easily pull out your hard drive.
  • To locate the hard drive, look for a long piece of plastic near the side where the laptop opens. The hard drive is usually hidden behind a screw-secured plastic panel on the back of the laptop. To remove it, unscrew any screws holding the panel or hard drive in place.
  • If you don’t know how to take your hard drive out of your computer, follow the directions specific to your laptop model that either came with the device or can be found online.
  • You can protect your stored files by keeping them in an anti-static bag. Also, if you take it to a local computer repair store, they might be able to help save some of the data still on the hard drive.
  • If you have no use for the hard drive, grab a power drill and destroy it by drilling through it in various spots. Once completely ruined, you can toss it out with the rest of your laptop.

Dispose of Old Laptop

old laptop
Image Credit: ecogreenitrecycling.co.uk

1. Sell Your Computer

If your old laptop is sluggish or not working, somebody out there might want to buy it. List any issues it has and any specifications you can manage online or in your neighborhood. Some people will purchase laptops that are outdated in different parts. For them, whether the device is functioning is moot so long as it’s in good physical condition.

2. Trade in Your Laptop For Cash Or Gift Cards 

You can receive a little payment for your old technology if you take it to the right stores. There are many different electronics stores and laptop companies that have trade-in programs. To find one of these near you and estimate how much they will pay you, look online or ask at your local electronics store.

3. Donate Your Old Laptop

You can donate your laptop to a family or individual needing their computer if it is still working properly. Look online for local charities that collect laptop donations to find somewhere to give yours away.

4. Take It to an Electronics Recycler

Electronics and laptops often contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, or cadmium. Many recycling plants have been set up around the world to ensure the safe disposal of these dangerous items. You can find one near you by searching online.

5. Throw It Away as a Last Resort

Disposing of your electronic devices in the trash is extremely harmful to the environment and should only be done as a last resort. Some states have laws asking citizens to recycle their electronics instead of throwing them away. Goggle what e-waste disposal options are available in your state, so you don’t break any rules.

The Bottom Line

When you are done with an old laptop, you can do many different things to get rid of it. Whether you recycle, sell or destroy it, make sure you know what you are doing before starting. Getting rid of an old laptop doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should make sure you do it properly.


Can I throw my laptop away?

We must keep repeating that it’s not good for us or the environment to get rid of electronics by throwing them away instead of recycling them. Even if there are no specific laws where you live against putting electronics in the trash, recycling is still the better option.

Will removing the hard drive erase everything from my computer?

Contrary to popular belief, unplugging your hard drive will not delete any data. You can take the hard drive from one computer and put it in another to access those files. If you want to remove the data from the first computer, you must wipe the hard drive before taking it out.

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