Recycling PC's and Protecting Your Data
A Computer-Charged World
Most people in the developed world use computers in some way every day. This might be at home, in an office environment, or by their details being held and processed remotely on a computer somewhere. Mobile phones, Ipods, and sat navs (Satellite Navigation Systems) are mini computers, as are credit card payment machines in restaurants and shops, and even the mobile devices that traffic warden’s use to check car’s details and give tickets out, are all small, task-focussed computers.
Society relies on computers so much, that saving or ‘backing up’ the data, is crucial. Once someone experiences their data being lost – either personal files such as media stored on a home computer, or work files being lost or corrupted in an office, then they will never forget it and from then on will always save their information to a secondary source.
Ways to save computer based personal or work-related data include storing it on an online storage system, or on an external hard drive, or burning the information onto discs.
The first method involves finding a website that sells space on a server out in the ether, which can be as large or small as the client needs. Their information can then be regularly stored there, and retrieved by means of secure and encrypted passwords which could be used from any computer anywhere, should the clients initial computer fail or be stolen or broken in some way.
The second method involves buying an external hard drive from a computer store. These can either be small USB devices or keys, sometimes called memory sticks that plug into a computer and easily allow the copying and transfer of data. These memory sticks usually have 1 GB (gigabyte) of storage space, and are designed to be easily portable.
Larger devices are called hard drives, and these are desktop devices, which aren’t as portable, but often have much more space available.They range from 80 GB, through 250 or 500 GB, right up to the newest range, which offer 1 TB (tetrabyte) of storage space.
The third option in data storage involves regularly burning information onto a disc in the computer, either a CD or a DVD. The disc could then be put in the computer, or taken to any other computer, opened, and the information could then be accessed. The one drawback with this is that only newer computers have burning software installed. External disc burners can be purchased and plugged in, however.
It is very important to find environmentally friendly ways of recycling computers. The world of computing and information technology moves so fast that 3 years and under is the estimated shelf life for most computers and hardware these days.
Many businesses replace their office computers after a year. In many cities around the world, people earn a good living collecting computers from the street, refurbishing them or stripping them down, and either selling them on whole, or just as parts.
There are several charities in the UK, which collect or receive old or dead computers and refurbish them and send them to schools in developing countries. This is a wonderful gift, ensuring children overseas get the chance to use the technology that those of us in developed countries take for granted.
Other options include finding individuals and businesses that buy and receive old computers for parts. Other ideas include using the shells of desktop computers as storage, or in the garden as bird tables.What is important is that old computers are not simply thrown in the landfill sites. Be creative, and keep computers running as long as possible, then find sustainable solutions for them afterwards.