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Disposing of Devices Safely

Original release date: November 26, 2012 | Last revised: February 06, 2013

Overview

Removing your information from an old computer, notebook, tablet, or other technology is harder than it seems. Systems are set up to protect us from losing information we need—when we delete a file, we can still get it back. Similarly, others who get your discarded computer or other device can get it back, too. You need to take extra steps to remove information from your computing devices before you discard them. Otherwise, you risk exposing your private information.

In this paper, we will discuss good practices for clearing information from computer drives, USB “thumb drives,” and CDs and DVDs. We will also include advice regarding phones and tablets.

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