If you are ready to recycle your old computer, first remove the hard drive to ensure your personal data stays safe. Whether you have a desktop or a laptop computer, removing the hard drive is something you can do with the help of a simple screwdriver, even if you’ve never seen a hard drive before. Watch this video to learn how to remove a hard drive.
Be sure to unplug your computer before taking any part of the computer apart.
Locate Your Laptop or Computer Hard Drive
You may find your hard drive through a process of elimination. It will not be the box that connects to the outside of your computer; that is your CD or DVD drive. It will not be the box that has a fan in it. It will not be the circuit boards, which look like thin wafers with electronic beads and wires embedded. Your hard drive will be a completely enclosed box about the size of the palm of your hand, and it will be connected with a few wires to the rest of your computer.
Remove the Hard Drive
Once you’ve located it, you’ll likely have to unclip it by pressing some levers or unscrew it from the casing. You might have to unscrew a cover before you can access the hard drive. The last step to removing the hard drive is to unplug the cords attached to it.
Disposing of the Computer and Hard Drive
Your computer contains heavy metals and other toxins that you do not want sitting in the county dump. Check out www.Earth911.com to find events and locations in your community where you can responsibly recycle your computer after you remove the hard drive. Major electronics retailers like Best Buy also have free and low cost take-back programs. Before sending the hard drive off to recycling, destroy your personal data by smashing the drive (while wearing safety gear) or corroding it with a small amount of bleach and water. The disk inside the hard drive case is where your data lives, and this is the part that really needs to be destroyed. Once destroyed, the hard drive can also be donated to a recycling center.
If a new computer is in your future, take care to safeguard yourself by doing these few steps and removing your hard drive when you are ready to offload the old gear.