How to prepare your old laptop or computer for sale

With Black Friday behind us and Christmas not far away it is a popular time for selling old tech to make room for the new. If you’re buying a new laptop, desktop or even hard drive and plan to sell your old one, you need to learn how to prepare your old laptop or computer for sale!

Thousands of people every year sell their old tech with identifiable data still present on the drive. We don’t have to tell you how potentially damaging that could be!

There are lots of stories online about how companies lost data when selling old tech but home users do it too. Dave’s Computers in New Jersey wants everyone to be safe this holiday season so here is how to prepare your old laptop or computer for sale.

Get your computer ready to sell

There are a couple of things we need to do before you list your computer. We need to back up your data so you don’t lose it and then securely delete it from your hard drive. Once done, it will be safe to sell.

Backup your stuff

Back up all of the data you want to keep. You can use OneDrive if you use Windows or another cloud service. You could use an external drive or another drive you are going to remove from the computer before you sell it. However you do it, make sure to save all of your data somewhere safe.

Make sure to check documents, downloads, user folders and the rest of your drives for data to save.

Securely wipe your hard drive

There is only one tool I use for wiping older hard drives and that is DBAN. It’s free and includes everything you need to securely wipe your hard drive to NSA levels. If you have an SSD, you can skip this part and go straight to wipe an SSD.

  1. Download DBAN from here and burn it to a CD or USB. A CD is best if you have a drive otherwise a USB can work too.
  2. Remove all other drives from your computer before you begin, just to make sure.
  3. Reboot your computer and boot from the DBAN CD.
  4. Type ‘autonuke’ when the blue DBAN screen appears.
  5. Allow the process to complete.
  6. If it’s your main drive you’re wiping, reinstall the operating system.

Securely wipe an SSD

Solid State Drives (SSD) work differently and delete information immediately. You don’t need to use DBAN for these. All you need do is download a specific tool from the SSD manufacturer. The tool usually tells the drive to forget everything. You will need to navigate to the SSD manufacturer’s website to do this though.

There are third party tools out there that can do the same thing but we don’t use them. We prefer to use those manufacturer tools. Those tools include Intel Solid State Toolbox, OCZ Toolbox, Corsair SSD Toolbox, Samsung Magician and SanDisk SSD Toolkit. These change regularly so I won’t link them here.

Wiping your hard drive is essential if you want to keep your private data private. Once complete, you can sell your old tech safe with the knowledge that it won’t come back to bite you later!

If you want to be extra safe, bring your computer to the data recovery experts at Dave’s Computers. We can securely delete your data for you.