How to recycle your Mac  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

When your Mac is no longer the shiny new kid on the block, there's no shortage of ways to extend its useful life. An old Mac can work as a recipe-storage library, for instance, and that antique iBook can be a backup drive.

But when you've run out of ways to reuse or repurpose your old Mac, what's the best way to recycle it? Here are a variety of solutions--from low-effort to time-intensive--that'll keep your conscience and your closet clear.

Don't Throw It Away

California, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Washington now have laws regulating where and how you can dispose of unwanted electronics. But in most others, it's still legal to throw your computers in the trash. According to a recent --60 Minutes report, an estimated 130,000 computers end up in the garbage annually.

There are all kinds of good reasons not to make yours one of them: lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium are three of the best. These substances, which are embedded in our computers' assorted parts, are just a few of the toxins that can be released into the environment if an old computer or iPod is just tossed onto a scrap heap and burned. Once in the groundwater or air supply, heavy metals and PCBs released by improperly disposed-of computers linger as cancer-causing compounds.

Erase Your Hard Drive

Before you dispose of an old computer, make sure you wipe it clean of all your data.

The first step is to back up all the data on the device's hard drives. Either copy it to your new machine or pick up an external hard drive and use that as a repository for all the old files. To duplicate the contents of the old drive, use Time Machine. Or if your old system doesn't have OS X 10.5, try Carbon Copy Cloner (payment requested; Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ).

Now erase your footsteps. Start by deauthorizing iTunes. You don't want to later realize that you have one less machine you can play your old, pre-iTunes Plus music on. Then deauthorize any third-party programs you'll want to reinstall on your new system.

Next, wipe your hard drive. Track down the installation discs that came with your computer (or use the ones that came with any OS X upgrade you purchased). Insert Disc 1 (CD) or the installer disc (DVD), launch Installer, and reboot the machine using the software on the disc. Go to the Installer menu, choose Open Disk Utility, select the hard-drive icon in the column on the left, click on the Erase tab, and then click on Options. The 8 Way Random Write Format will scramble your data nicely. (story Link)

This entry was posted on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:29 AM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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