When your laptop no longer serves any purpose in your life, selling it is your best option. If you are going to sell it, however, there are a few things that you need to do first. Most of these things relate to wiping and clearing your laptop for the next person so that they cannot access your private information. You do also need to make sure that you clean your laptop and run a diagnostics test so that you can be confident there aren’t any issues with it. If it turns out that there are, you could be asked for a refund.
Here are six important things that you should do before getting rid of your laptop:
Wipe Your SSD
Some people advise against wiping one’s SSD, but if you do it properly it’s perfectly safe and won’t damage it. You need to carefully research how to securely erase an SSD drive, so that you can be confident everything has been wiped. Some people would argue that wiping one’s SSD drive is unnecessary, but do you really want some stranger to be able to see what you were doing on your computer?
If you have any sensitive files stored on your computer, overwrite and delete them. This will ensure that should anybody be able to restore your computer to just before you wiped it, that sensitive information will be gone. Overwriting them is a very good idea because it acts as a secondary barrier. Once they have been overwritten, even if the person is able to restore the files, they won’t be in their original form, therefore meaning that your sensitive information is safe. Overwrite sensitive files with things that in no way can be traced back to you, such as meme images, or ingredients lists copied and pasted from food blogs.
You also need to delete your browser’s search history. It’s very likely that at some point you have searched for something that could be used to identify you. You can’t be sure about who is going to buy your laptop from you, so for safety purposes, you need to eliminate any trace of yourself from it. Deleting one’s browser history is very simple. You need to go onto your browser, find the settings section, and click clear browsing history. Once you have deleted your browser’s history, delete cookies, and then uninstall the browser. Make sure to delete all of your browser’s system files also. Some may remain after the programme has been uninstalled. They could retain your personal information or passwords, even after you have cleared browsing history and cookies, so do yourself a favour and delete them.
The chances are that you have programmes on your laptop that you have paid for, such as services like MS Word and Photoshop. These programmes can contain your payment information, so uninstall them, and delete the system files, as we suggested previously. If you will no longer be using these programmes, make sure to remove your payment information from your account and bring an end to your subscription. If you do not do this, then the next person to get your laptop could find their way into your account and continue using your subscription, which means that you could end up having to pay for it.
If you have used your laptop for work, then you should contact your boss and ask them about their data disposal policies. Some companies have very strict data disposal policies, in order to prevent information from getting into the wrong hands. You should not wipe your computer and sell it before doing this. Your employer may want to monitor you deleting information over a webcam service, in order to meet compliance regulations. Data disposal is a very serious matter for most companies, especially if you worked in finance or recruitment.
Wiping Hard Drive
Once you have done everything else listed in this article, you can go ahead and wipe your hard drive. Wiping one’s hard drive is very simple but does differ depending on the make and model of your computer. You should read your laptop manufacturer’s official instructions for hard drive wiping. Do not watch random YouTube videos, because sometimes these videos provide misleading information and can contribute to your laptop breaking down. Wiping your hard drive is, thankfully, very easy to do, and won’t take you much more than ten minutes or so, then it is ready to be sold.
When you are selling your laptop, you need to be very careful, and ensure that you do not willingly surrender your personal information to your device’s buyer. You never know what they will do with your personal information if it falls into their hands, from fraud to theft.