How to Securely Erase Your Devices Before Disposing of or Selling Them

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Before you get rid of any devices or drives, it’s important to wipe them of any sensitive files. Whether you’re disposing of it, selling it or giving it away — securely erase your data first, because it’s possible to recover deleted files from many types of drives.

USB Drives, External Hard Drives, and SD Cards:
To wipe an external drive on Windows, we suggest CCleaner because it is a particularly easy one to use. Insert the USB drive or plug in the external hard drive, open CCleaner, and use the Tools > Drive Wiper feature. This will reduce your drive’s lifespan, but, if you’re about to dispose of the drive, that’s fine.

Laptops, Desktops, and Internal Hard Drives:
Only wipe if you’re using a mechanical or hybrid hard drive. Don’t do this for solid-state drives.

On Windows 8 and 8.1, you can simply choose the “Reset your PC” feature and tell Windows to erase the drive securely. Choose the “Fully clean the drive” option to ensure none of your files can be recovered later.

Remember, you don’t need to do several wipes — just the one wipe will do.

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