Selling technology that you don’t use any more is a great way to earn a few quid or even to put money towards a newer version of what you are selling.

Sounds good right?

Well there are a couple of things that you should do before selling your PC…

In this guide I will be primarily focusing on Windows

You will need…

  • External storage device
  • Windows Installation media
  • Blank media to install Active Kill Disk on

1. Back up your data

It’s always a good idea to back up your data before performing any computer maintenance. Since you are selling your computer, you will need to back up all your data on to a separate storage device like a portable hard drive or a Flash drive. It’s important to make sure that you have enough storage space on your external device so that you can actually back up your data.

2. De-authorise licensed programs

De-authorising any licensed programs such as Adobe CC, Microsoft Office or your anti-virus program . Doing this will free up licences so that you can put it onto your new computer.

While I’m writing about licensed programs it might be worth mentioning to make sure you have the licence keys for programs you may have purchased. If you don’t have the licence files Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is the program you need. According to their website…

“The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry”.

Magical Jelly Bean

3. Wipe your hard disk securely

This is the most important point. When selling your computer you don’t want your data on that PC and I’m not just talking about deleting your documents. There are loads of files that you won’t find in your Documents or on your desktop. These files will contain sensitive data such as your browsing history, saved passwords etc…

So what do I do?

You will need to securely wipe your hard drive. Restoring your computer to factory settings is often not enough as there is still a possibility of recovering deleted data. I’m not talking for all manufacturers because I have come across a couple of recovery partitions that have the option to securely wipe your data. Windows 10 has an option to do this too!

In IT we all have our preferences on what to use, so there may be people who disagree with me. I use Active Kill disk as a boot disk. In its free edition, it will securely wipe your hard disk in the One Pass Zeros method. According to Kill disk, this means that “the number of passes is fixed and cannot be changed. When the write head passes through a sector, it writes only zeros”. This will make it very hard to recover the data.

Like I said, we all have our preferences and it will be a crime not to mention some of the alternatives because they are very good as well…

Dban (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) is a great alternative.

4. Re-install Windows

The most important part is to re-install Windows. Now, this may not be worth it depending on the operating system that was originally on it. For example, if the original operating system was Windows Vista or even XP, it might be worth Installing Linux Mint or some variation of Linux. In some cases, it might be worth upgrading the computer to the latest version of Windows, but obviously, that costs and it’s not always the best solution, especially for older computers with older hardware.

5. Clean it!

When selling your electronic devices, it’s a good idea to clean the device so that it looks more presentable.

Check this out!

Other options

There are other options of course. I mean you don’t have to sell your computer with your hard drive!