On the 14th of April, St. Thomas residents will be able to dispose of their electronic waste. It is a long list of acceptable items including printers, copies, monitors, faxes and computers. How aware are you that your personal information, pictures, even bank details may be going with your disposed computer, just waiting for someone to find it and discover your life. Did you even know that just because you delete a file doesn’t mean it is gone forever?
Unless you are a competent computer tech, the inner workings of a computer can be a mysterious combination of lights, circuit boards and lumpy bits. There is no shame in not knowing everything about computers, which is why we have companies that offer very reasonably priced computer services. Even if you don’t delve into the physical workings, just exactly how your operating system works can be very confusing.
The majority of computer users run a version of the Windows Operating System, beit 3.5, 95, 98, Millennium, XP, or 7. Each system, while perhaps looking similar to previous versions, runs differently and places your information in different places. Add to the mix the different programs that are used to access the web, Firefox, Explorer, Safari, and Chrome to name a few, all save your web browsing history in different places. Your information will be stored in little bits of data that an competent computer tech could put back together in no time at all. Are you confident that you have never visited a website you wouldn’t want the world to know about?
If you have ordered anything online or used your credit card to purchase services from a website, your details could well be found on your computer. Do you bank online? There is probably even more information floating around behind the screen. Even if you don’t use your credit card or banking details on your computer, you will have others parts of your life just lying around for anyone to look at.
Those pictures of your holiday to Cuba, your grand-daughters first birthday, what about the outside of your house? If you have pictures on your computer and you are not computer savvy, those images could quite well end up in someone else’s possession. You really don’t want that to happen. What if you have been using your computer to blog about your life, using it as a personal diary. No one would want that falling into the wrong hands.
Do you think that it is unlikely that someone might find your information? You think you are willing to take the risk? Do you know how computers are recycled?
The first thing that will happen to your freshly disposed computer is that it will be taken apart, component by component. Your hard drive will be removed, and possibly checked to make sure it will function. After all, we are talking about recycling rather than destroying, so the hard drive, if it is still working will hopefully be wiped before being passed onto it’s next step of it’s journey that will see it placed back into service on day.
Not all hard drive wipes are built the same. Some are more thorough than others. Sometimes a wipe doesn’t happen for whatever reason. If you search online you will find many examples of a new computer being delivered to someone who discovers that the hard drive had had a previous life and owner as there is personal information still on the hard drive. Even some of the big name companies have been guilty of this.
Peace of mind helps you sleep at night. If you have any concerns at all, you can contact one of the many local computer services. They will be able to make sure your data is truly deleted so that there is no chance of your information being seen by anyone else. In fact, A1 Computers of St. Thomas has a special offer on right now. For only $20 your data will be removed from your computer. It’s a great price for anyone who doesn’t want their personal photographs, banking details and website information potentially being found by someone else. You can contact A1 Computers at 519-207-0574 or visit http://a1-computers.weebly.com/ for other contact information.
Remember that April 14th is the date for disposing your electronics so make sure you protect yourself before it is too late. Even if you choose not to do anything, at least now you know why disposing of a computer isn’t as easy as it seems!