How to Safely Ditch Your Old Console

The current generation of gaming consoles have integrated online gaming into the gaming experience. In fact, there are 700 million gamers worldwide who play online, the SpilGames 2013 State of Online Gaming study reports. With this connectivity has come the explosion of massively multiplayer games, downloadable games and live updates for titles. But playing or purchasing online with your console often requires sensitive information that you might not want to linger on your gaming consoles should you choose to sell or trade them in. Here’s how you can kick your old console to the curb without leaving your personal data for the next owner to find and possibly abuse:

Scrubbing Your Xbox 360

If you are looking to upgrade from an Xbox 360 to an Xbox One, it’s important you format your 360 before trading it in or selling it. This should be as easy as simply selecting the “Memory” tab from the Xbox 360 Dashboard, selecting “Hard Drive” from the “Storage Devices” tab, and then formatting the drive. This should delete all your data, but the truth isn’t that neat and clean — Kotaku reports that even restoring you console to its factory settings will not remove all the data, allowing hackers to access your personal information with simple tools and software if they have your physical drive.

If you’ve already sold or traded in an Xbox 360 you thought was safely formatted, it is strongly advised you check your credit reports and/or purchase identity protection services from a company like LifeLock to ensure your personal data is safe and you are protected. If you are preparing your 360 for the garbage dump, the safest option is to smash it to pieces with a sledgehammer; it’s not only cathartic, but pulverizing a drive is the absolute insurance. If wholesale destruction isn’t an option, removing the hard drive and attaching it to your computer so you can run a drive sanitizer program is the safest course of action. Microsoft has failed to alert users to the risks of utilizing their on-board formatting software in the past, and now you’ve been warned.

Wiping Your Playstation 3

While wiping your Playstation 3’s data is much easier than wiping your Xbox 360, it is no less critical. Naked Security reminds us that it was just in 2011 that the Playstation Network was breached by hackers, and Sony has just settled its recent data breach case resulting from this intrusion for $15 million.

The first step in safely removing your data is to delete all of your User Accounts. Secondly, head to the “Settings” tab and select “Format Hard Disk.” This will remove all of the data from your physical console, PS3but you aren’t done protecting your data yet; The final step in the process is to head online to deactivate your system with Sony and delete your credit card information from its customer database.

Parting With The Wii

Cleaning your personal data from you Wii is simpler than other consoles. First, you’ll need to delete your personal information from the Wii Shop. This is easily done by accessing the “Settings and Features” menu in the main screen of the Wii and then selecting the “Remove Wii Shop Channel Account” option. This will delete your shop account and personal data. The final step is to format the internal hard drive, which is done by selecting the “Options” tab, entering “Settings” and then selecting “Format Wii System Memory.” It’ll take a moment, but your information will safely be removed and your drive formatted. After all the work take comes with cleaning your Playstation and Xbox, it’s nice to know Nintendo has your back.

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About: Peter Biu

Creator and founder of the CDGN. “Gaming has always been a big part of my life. The idea to create something and work within the industry has always been a dream until now”

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