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Consumer Reports: Wiping Old Electronics Clean

By Consumer Reports
|  Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013  |  Updated 5:32 PM CDT
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Consumer Reports says before you give someone your old tablet or laptop, it's essential to make sure that all your information gets erased.

Deanna Dewberry, Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports says before you give someone your old tablet or laptop, it's essential to make sure that all your information gets erased.

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If you were lucky enough to have gotten a new tablet or laptop for the holidays, you’re probably passing your old one on to someone else or sending it off to be recycled. Consumer Reports says before you do, it’s essential to make sure that all your information gets erased and has advice on how to do it.

On many tablets there are built-in ways to wipe your data. For example, on the iPad, go to Settings and selected “General.” Look for the “Reset” option. In the next window, choose “Erase All Content” and “Settings.” A box will appear. Hit “Erase” and you’re done.

Many newer laptops also have built-in systems. Go to the “Settings” control panel and choose “Change PC Settings.” In the next window, click on “Recovery.” Underneath the heading “Remove Everything” and “Install Windows,” click on “Get Started.” In the box that comes up, click on “Fully Clean My Drive.”

But with other, older devices, the process can be a little more complicated. If you don’t have any ways built into the device that can securely wipe the data for you, you’re going to have to use a third party application. Consumer Reports recommends D-BAN, which you can download for free at dban.org. It’s easy to use and will take care erasing all your personal data.

You also want to erase all your personal information from old phones when you’re done with them and even gaming systems.


Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

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