Yes today, November 15, is America Recycle Day. I’ve just dragged up from my basement a CPU, a CRT monitor (remember those?), 2 GPS devices, 2 set of speakers, and a huge box of cords to take to Staples. They accept electronic recycling every day but today you get a $10 coupon off $20 to use in December. Check out the Staples recycle your tech page to see what they do and do not accept.  (I’m not sure if my box of cords will be taken or not.)

ImportantYou must wipe your hard drive of all sensitive data.

Many people think because they deleted data on their hard drive that no one can see it. In reality, it is still on the hard drive. Here’s how it works:  When you save a file to your hard drive it also indexes it.  The index points to specific tracks on the hard drive where the file is stored. When you delete a file the information on the hard drive is not erased (that’s why deleted files can be recovered). Instead only the index is changed to a delete status (which, as I just wrote, is not really true, but instead gives permission for that area on the hard drive to be overwritten with a different file).

The best way to protect your sensitive data when changing computers is to remove the hard drive, take a drill and drill several holes through the hard drive.  That leaves you an old computer without a hard drive. If you want to pass your old computer on to someone else with the hard drive intact you’ll need to do two things:  1)  Delete all sensitive data … it’s not just files, it’s emails, bookmarks, backups, iTunes software, etc. etc.  and  2) Run a program which will write over these deleted areas several times (this is called wiping the drive). Read How to Securely Erase Your Hard Drive from PCWorld.