When you take an old computer to the local tip or recycling centre you need to think about deleting the data, personal files, documents and banking details that are on the hard drive.

The problem is that even though you've deleted the files and folders, including personal bank details and private emails, from your PC, they are still there. When you remove the files, all that you're doing is removing the reference to them.

Although they seem to have disappeared, they could be recovered with freely available software that anyone can download for free from the internet. Do you still want to dump your computer at the tip ?.

How to remove your banking details from your PC

Previously I said that your personal files and banking details were still on your computer's hard drive even after deletion. They will stay there until they are overwritten with some other data.

There are a couple of free utilities available that will do this for you, one of them is called Ccleaner which is made by a company called Piriform. You can download a version for free or buy the professional version..

This software will overwrite the free space on your computer's hard drive, you can either set it to run once or multiple times.

There is also a built-in Microsoft Windows tool called Cipher that will overwrite deleted files for you. It does involve working from the command prompt so may not be suitable for everyone.

All of the above methods of deleting data and personal banking details are as thorough as they can be there is only one way to be absolutely 100% sure...

Destroy the hard drive

There is only one way to be 100% sure of deleting the data, personal files. documents and banking details that are on the hard drive. You must destroy the magnetic platter that is located inside. 

All you need is a set of Torx screwdrivers (most likely a T7 driver) and some time. Most of the screws are easy to see but a couple are hidden under the hard drive information sticker. Once the lid is off of the hard drive, you will see one or more metallic discs that form the magnetic platter.

Once these discs are removed, they can be destroyed.

You can now safely recycle your computer in the knowledge that your data and personal banking details have been well and truly deleted.