With the economy being in such a precarious condition, many computer users are repairing and upgrading an existing computer rather than buy a new one. If you have a laptop or computer that requires offsite repair, you should take a few precautions to protect your computer files and sensitive information.
Note: If you are using a reputable computer repair technician, you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone accessing your private information. However, it’s best to take the necessary precautions to protect your information.
These precautions are not fool proof. Computer information can be retrieved even if it is deleted. However, taking these precautions makes it a little more difficult to access your private information.
Step 1: Backup your laptop/computer if possible.
If your computer suddenly dies, the opportunity to back it up is lost. However, if you back up your computer at the first sign of trouble, you might be able to prevent being stuck. Signs such as a pink tinge on the computer screen when it boots up is a sign that the backlight might be ready to go out. Or, if you notice that your system isn’t booting up as quickly as it used to, backup your sensitive information.
Step 2: Remove or password protect important files.
After you’ve backed up your computer, you can either delete or password protect sensitive files right before you ship your computer out for repair.
Step 3: Clear your browser history, clear passwords, delete cached information, remove cookies and clear authenticated sessions.
Doing so adds an added layer of protection. For example, if you use an online email service on which you have set the cookies to remember you on the computer, anyone using your computer will be able to sign into your email account.
Step 4: Empty your recycle bin.
The files that you deleted from your computer go into the Recycle bin. Empty it before you send your computer out for repair.
Step 5: Reformat your hard drive.
If you have enough time and your computer cooperates, you can reformat your computer before sending it out for repair. This is a nice option, but if your computer is really in bad shape, it may not be able to limp through the reformatting process.
Step 6: Overwrite your hard drive.
If they wanted your info, the best way you could stop them is overwriting your hard drive with junk.