When it’s time to say goodbye to an old laptop or PC, it’s not quite as simple as throwing it in the dustbin…

There are lots of different things to consider when getting rid of old hardware, including environmental impact as well as the security of your personal information. Whether you are passing your computer on to friends or family, disposing of it or trying to sell it, you need to be aware of the risks involved. Here’s how to part with your PC or laptop in the safest way possible.

Sell It

When selling your old hardware, you must completely wipe your hard drive. Passwords and personal information are stored on your machine and there is much more at stake than embarrassing photographs! There is plenty of widely available software which allows people to retrieve personal information from your devices, and the scary part is that the devices don’t even have to be operational for the information to be extracted. It is quite common for people to buy broken or damaged laptops for very little money exactly for this purpose. Simply deleting files does not protect you from data theft; you must properly purge your hard drive. There is software that you can download to completely erase your data, leaving it irrecoverable. Our recommended software would be DBAN. This free program completely wipes all data from your hard drive, but still leaves it usable, giving you peace of mind when you pass on your device.

Throw It Away

If you are throwing away a computer, there is more than just data security you need to consider. The WEEE directive requires that electronic waste be disposed of in an environmentally safe way, which prohibits people from simply throwing their computers in the dustbin. Laptops, for instance, have batteries containing hazardous chemicals which must be handled carefully. In many instances, you may be able to return your computer to the shop you bought it from for them to dispose of, however there are ways for you to recycle them too. Many places have local recycling facilities which will take your waste electronics – you can find where this is on your local council’s website.

Wiping your data is also important if you are recycling, but we advise destroying your hard drive if you no longer need it. We offer drive destruction services using the Bust-a-Drive apparatus – this ensures your data is 100% safe when disposing of your hard drive. You can see how this works in the video below…


We donate many of our old or broken PCs and hardware to a company called Aspire. Aspire use unwanted and broken computers to help pass on IT skills to vulnerable and marginalised people. Their aim is to provide a stable job and supported working environment to those who may not have access to this otherwise. You can find out more about the great work Aspire do on their website.

If you would like any help or advice on disposing of your old business computers, please get in touch!