Today is Earth Day. Show your love for the globe by getting rid of your old technology in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
Step 1: Back up files or data you want to keep
Use the backup utilities that are built into Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 to transfer files from your old computer to your new one.
If you’re getting rid of a computer that is running Windows 8, use File History.
Step 2: Remove personal information from your computer or device
If you use a Microsoft Certified Refurbisher, they will help you remove your data and help you donate your equipment to people in need around the world.
If you decide to remove the personal information yourself, wipe your hard drive by using specialized software that is designed to government standards and will overwrite your information (Active@ KillDisk and Softpedia DP Wiper are free downloads).
Step 3: Find a reputable recycler
If you’ve already used a Microsoft Certified Refurbisher, they can help you find the right place for your old computers and devices. If you’re doing it yourself, you can find a list of Microsoft-sponsored recycling opportunities in your area.
Many places will offer rewards for your recycled technology. If you’re getting rid of old Xbox or Playstation games, you might be able to exchange them for a gift card to buy new games.
For more information, see How to more safely dispose of computers and other devices. If you just want to upgrade your operating system, find out if your current computer can run Windows 8.1 and you might not even need to get rid of it.