What Should I do before I throw away my old PC and printer?

Buying a new PC or Printer is an exciting thing, but it also involves an associated problem of what should be done to older one. Similar to the most of electronic devices, PC and Printer contains many toxic substances, heavy metals and other elements that can severely harm the environment. The ink cartridges in printer contains various type of organic and inorganic elements that can’t get easily neutralized by natural action, thus have very harmful environmental impact. Also, with simply discarding these electronic devices, user also ignore huge amount of associated carbon emission while manufacturing, functioning, disposal and post disposal stages.  Therefore, one should think twice before just throwing away his PC or printer.

Considering the PC alone, it contains a large amount data that can be user’s personal information, account numbers, license keys or registration number for software programs, passwords, addresses, contact numbers, income tax details, etc. that are related to user’s privacy. If this important information reaches into any authorized hands, it can cause unequivocal and irreversible damages.

What should be done before throwing away your PC?

To avoid risk associated with disposal of old PC, following steps can be adopted.

  1. Take a backup: Take a backup of all important files so that everything can be easily transferred to new computer. It can done either by investing in any external hard drive or option of using cloud service is also available which is easy, secure and affordable. Many service providers offer cloud storage for backup of important files and information like Google’s Google Drive, Box or Microsoft’s One drive.

  2. Wipe Hard-drive clean: Simply deleting a file or information doesn’t assure of completely in-existence of that file in the system. Sometimes even files are not visible in available files of system, but data hacker or collector can retrieve information. Here are the suggested methods to wipe hard-drive clean.

  3. Securely delete important and sensitive file: It can be done by various in-built tools and softwares with OS like File shredder (for windows) and secure empty trash (for old Macs). Drive encryption can be used for Macs with OS 10.11 and higher and Windows PCs with SSD drives. It is advisable to turn on “encryption” even in functioning stage in order to avoid risk associated with data theft.
  4. Wipe drive with secure and verified application: Where applications and vaults are available for securely wiping the hard drive clean. They can be used for cleaning as well as storing a backup in secure vaults like DBAN, PC Disk Eraser, MHDD, CBL Data Shredder etc. After cleaning, a factory setup or reboot of the system must be performed for more security and cleaning of any trashes, if left.
  5. Uninstall programs: Be sure to uninstall important software programs to secure the work as well as license keys before disposal. In case of PC used for business purposes, it should be consulted with employer about the measures to manage business related information in the system. There are certain laws that has been enforced for protecting consumer data which require due consideration.
  6. Consult technician: If users themselves are not able to clean the system and take a backup, they must consult technicians for necessary advices and solutions. From consultation, other possible methods can be found out and more privacy can be attained. We, at Duftar, provide all kind of onsite IT support for helping our customer and securing their valuable.

How should old PC or printer be disposed off?

Instead of simply discarding, people can opt to recycle, donate or resale. Let’s discuss


  1. Recycle: It’s the most efficient way of getting rid of old PC or printer. Many retailers and stores like Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot have facilities and programs for collection of e-waste. Another option is to drop PC or old printers at any of e-waste collection center run by government agencies or regulatory bodies. Several manufactures like HP, Epson, Sony, Apple, Samsung, etc. have their own recycle programs where they also offer good cash back, discount offers or other rewards on exchange or submission of older products. Recycling not only restricts overall environmental impact, but also offers economic benefits.
  2. Repair and Maintenance: With the rapid increase in technological innovations, cost price of electronic devices is kept on decreasing. These have made a common practice to replace older products. While replacing, if people consider associated environmental cost that normally doesn’t count in cost price, lesser e-waste will be generated. Moreover, simply by preventive maintenance and repair, effective life of old PC or printer can be increased. If old PC or printer have reparable damages, try to repair them instead of disposal.
  3. Donate: If old PC and printer are still working, there are many organizations that will be happy to take it as donation. These include charity organizations. Non Profit Organizations, hospitals, schools and other social organizations. They will make the right use. It’s worthy saying,“ Your trash can be treasure for others.”

    Many organizations run various exchange programs where they provide donated electronics to needed people at different locations. Also, there are manufactures like Dell, Apple etc. that works to recycle and repurpose electronic for optimum utilization of products.

  4. Sell: If old printer or PC is still in working conditions, they can be sold at various online or offline stores and portals for cash. People can send them at online places like Printers Jack,, online marketplaces like ebay, amazon and craglists or by social media platforms. Even if they are not in working conditions, they can be sold out to junk or repair shops.

While adopting any of the above discussed method, consultation with verified and authorized service provider must be done. Also, one should strictly check the terms and conditions, licenses, business policies, adopted technology and other details before handling old PC and Printer to anyone else. Only user can protect him from any malpractices.

Hope this article will help the readers for getting rid of their old electronic waste in best possible manner.

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53 thoughts on “What Should I Do Before I Throw Away My Old PC and Printer

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