If you’re the least bit concerned about privacy (and you should be), you should remove the hard drive from an old notebook computer before dropping it off for electronic-recycling.
I have a 6-year-old MacBook Pro computer with a non-functioning display and keyboard. I’ve repurposed it the last few years as a “desktop” computer by attaching an external display and keyboard.
Recently, my laptop’s hard drive started making weird clicking noises. That’s not a good sign for long-term reliability! Therefore, I decided to retire the computer and recycle it (at the Amherst Highway Department). But I didn’t want to recycle it with any personal data inside. What to do? Simple. Pull the internal hard drive out before recycling! Here’s how:
(Tools required: Small Phillips screwdriver)
1. Remove the 10 screws from back panel using a small Phillips screwdriver.
2. Take off the back cover. The hard drive is easy to locate in the lower left corner.
3. Remove the plastic piece that holds hard drive in place. (2 Phillips screws)
4. Pull off the SATA drive connector and remove the hard drive. Replace cover and screws.
That’s it! Now the computer can be safely and securely recycled with all personal information removed.
For now I’ll keep the hard drive I removed “in stock” for a possible project in the future.