Are you all set to sell your computer to get a new one? You must be excited with the new purchase, but have you prepared your PC before selling it to someone else? Majorly the answer would be no. Isn't it? Computers are a gigantic hub of information and personal details, which knowingly or unknowingly have been stored in your computer all this while during its usage. Thus removing all those details should be taken into consideration before you sell your item to a stranger. To know it more in details read below the reasons.
Why do you need to prepare your computer before selling it?
1. If you don't delete all your stored data, it can be misused by the new owner once you he gets a hand on it.
2. Your bank account, datasheets, can be exploited if are not removed from your hard disk.
3. Your software accounts can be hacked if they are not deactivated from your computer.
4. If you have not signed-out from all the websites you frequently visit, and whose sign-in details are remembered in your web browser, personal details, like mails, files, documents can be modified.
The need for preparing your computer can be endless thus it is of paramount importance to pull off certain tasks before you sell your product to a new unknown owner.
Part 1: Back up All Your Files
All your details and information that you have worked with are intricately stored in your system, thus before you head on to sell it, it would be nice if you back up all that you have or all that you would need afterwards. For instances, files containing personal information of bank accounts, passwords; softwares, movies, songs, etc are some of the contents you are supposed to make a back up of.
To make the back up, you can either choose a cloud server like, Dropbox, Crashplan, or even Google Drives, SkyDrive and other storage services to safely store all your contents online. You can also store them in an external hard drive which is a much safer way to back up compared to that of cloud storage.
Once you have made a back up of your contents, check it in the new location before you remove the contents from its original location in your computer.
Part 2: Sign-out from Your Default Browser
It's not uncommon that while you use your Default browser, you enable the Remember the password feature to allow your browser to remember the username and password to any particular website. So if you don't delete all those details that your web browser has remembered, the information may fall on the wrong hands of an unknown user after you sell it.
Thus delete all your histories, cache data, cookies, username and passwords from your default web browser. It will save you the trouble of being exploited afterwards.
Part 3. Deauthorize Software
Before selling your product, you better de-authorize your programs and digital softwares that you have in your computer like Amazon's kindle Apps, Adobe Creative Suite, or files that you have downloaded from your online iTunes stores. This will not allow the user to take advantage of your authorization. Some programs or contents come with DRM (Digital Rights Management) which would prevent copying of the files that you download online.
For example, if the item you are selling is an Apple product, like Mac you should better deauthorize your computer first. Each Apple ID can authorize at most 5 computers to utilize the DRM protection using that account. Though there is limit to Macs and PCs but there is no limitation to iOS devices like iPhones.
To deauthorize your application for example to deauthorize your computer in iTunes click on "Store Menu" in iTunes and select "Deauthorize your Computer…"
Part 4. Format Your Hard Drive
Most of your contents, be it mp3, mp4, video footages, documents, and files are all stored in your PC hard drive. Therefore, before you sell your PC, you should format your hard drive. Although, formatting the hard drive is a time consuming process, but it is necessary before selling the product to a stranger. Formatting the computer would erase all your data, but make sure you have made a back up of all your contents before. After you have made the formatting, reinstall or reboot the OS from the OS disk itself.
If you have successfully done all the above procedures, then your computer or laptop is ready to be sold.
Whether you purchase a new computer or not, the old one that you have used for so long is very precious as it contains all your digital assets, which are at times much more valuable than anything else. Thus to prepare your computer by all possible means to prevent exploitation or misuse of your stored data, prefer all the methods mentioned above in the article.
The methods explained in this article are very simple and can be accomplished even by a little expertise.