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Author: footsox Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 190816  
Subject: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 2:48 PM
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How do I throw out an old computer that may have financial information on the hard drive? I may donate it to Goodwill or something -- haven't decided yet. A friend told me to take the hard drive out of it and then donate it. So, if I do that, how do I then throw out the hard drive?? Maybe I bury it in the backyard? ;-)

Footsox
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Author: mmrmnhrm Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181705 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 3:18 PM
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Take out the hard drive, mash it to pieces with a hammer, then just toss it in the trash.

Or if you want, disassemble it first to take out the very powerful magnet and/or servo motor, then *CAREFULLY* smash the glass platters.

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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181706 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 3:52 PM
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There are multiple acceptable methods for getting rid of an old hard drive. Physical destruction is probably the most secure.

These guys explain all of the gory details and perform their work in a calm and professional manner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYcPT-xrLBM

You could deliberately exceed the operating g-force limits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN4LiIpB7nc

You can smash them with a hammer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AebpSXIMyRI

You can buy a ridiculously expensive tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcDfQwlRyGM

But it's probably more fun to apply some lead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NW6X_PPNA4

Or just cut it in half: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5MSNRApnFQ

--Peter

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181707 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 3:57 PM
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I find a sledge more effective than a hammer.

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Author: footsox Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181709 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 5:22 PM
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Wow. Sounds like fun! I can't wait. Demolition is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks Guys!

Footsox

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Author: chasb Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181711 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 6:56 PM
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If you take the hard drive out the computer is pretty useless to Goodwill or anybody else.

First, delete all your sensitive data (I'm assuming you've transferred it someplace else or backed it up securely).

Second, get a copy of Ccleaner: http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner Green arrow on the right of the screen.

Third, install Ccleaner and user the drive wiper utility available from the Tools menu to wipe all the free space on your hard drive. Pick NSA security. This will securely wipe the area of the drive where your files used to be.

Then donate the computer. Be sure to include any disks that came with it.

Charlie Brown (frequent restorer of donated computers)

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Author: grouse100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181712 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/6/2012 7:21 PM
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Chasb has a much saner and beneficial solution for Goodwill to work with!

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Author: Mark12547 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181715 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/7/2012 12:29 AM
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When my 10+ year old computer died earlier this year, after removing the hard drive, I used a pipe wrench and a pair of channel locks to bend the drive plate over like making a taco out of a corn tortilla. I figured that would be good enough for most purposes.

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181716 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/7/2012 7:22 AM
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I'm a EE with a well equipped prototyping workshop at home and I still find wiping the drive clean (per DoD 5220.22-M) with a free utility to be easier and beyond adequate....no safety glasses, no clean up, and leaves the clean drive ready for someone else to use if you're trying to be charitable. Another K.I.S.S. principal win.

Here the sledgehammering stuff is saved for when MS releases a patch that hoses the install - it's not a rational action to beat the &^@# out of it but it feels good temporarily ;-)
B

DIY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_mjCKUkSk8

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181717 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/7/2012 7:24 AM
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Whoops - didn't read far enough ahead - Charie got it right.
TGIF,
B

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Author: exeter17 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181748 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/8/2012 12:53 PM
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I'm partial to the following two words:

DRILL PRESS

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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181754 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/8/2012 2:40 PM
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I'm partial to the following two words:

DRILL PRESS


I agree. But it makes for really boring YouTube videos. ;-)

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Author: Radish Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181777 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/9/2012 5:59 PM
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Philipo,

I'm a EE with a well equipped prototyping workshop at home and I still find wiping the drive clean (per DoD 5220.22-M) with a free utility to be easier and beyond adequate...

Way beyond adequate. In real life, there is no chance whatsoever that anyone is going to recover data from your hard drive if you write data over the entire drive. Doesn't matter what you write, or how many times you write it... once is enough.

Deleting a file isn't enough. It's still there on the drive, and software to recover it is readily available. Writing over the file once is enough.

There is no possible method to recover data that has been written over, even once, using standard hardware. It would take special equipment. Yes, the NSA has it. So do some really expensive data recovery companies. No one cares enough about your data to send the hard drive to either one. Get real.

Phil

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181780 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/9/2012 8:56 PM
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"There is no possible method to recover data that has been written over, even once, using standard hardware. It would take special equipment. Yes, the NSA has it. So do some really expensive data recovery companies."

I agree the average user wiping their old bank account info has little to worry about from a practical standpoint...but also, as I said, from a practical standpoint a decent wipe is less effort than bending platters and other things I heard shared.

"No one cares enough about your data to send the hard drive to either one. Get real."

WRT the "get real" schooling in this reply to me - I suggest saving it for someone who needs it. I have client's (including DOD) proprietary data to worry about, am often required by contract to do such a wipe, and running a DOD wipe takes no more effort from than any other wipe - it's a check box and the operation takes more time but that's computer time not my time. Don't ass-ume my needs when I was merely contrasting soft options for those worried enough to think they need power tools or sledge hammers and think they need to waste the drive if the system is going to charity <shrug>
B

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Author: Radish Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 181781 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 9/10/2012 12:28 AM
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Philipo,

WRT the "get real" schooling in this reply to me - I suggest saving it for someone who needs it.

My apologies. I meant the agreeing with a free utility being easier and beyond adequate to be directed at you, and my following elaboration to be a general comment to the original poster and anyone else interested in the answers. Anyone who, such as yourself, has especially confidential data probably already knows, as you do, the appropriate handling methods.

So it was directed more at the original poster who just has ordinary financial data on a computer he is contemplating donating to Goodwill or some such. Even if the most nasty criminal bad guys who are dead set on getting your bank logins and such wind up buying a bunch of computers (or just their hard drives) from Goodwill (or whoever), they are not going to bother trying to recover data that's been overwritten even once. It's just not worth it.

One just needs to be sure they overwrite the entire hard drive, not just the "free space". No telling what's in Window's virtual-memory area on the drive, for example.

Phil

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Author: BlueGrits Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 182075 of 190816
Subject: Re: How to throw out an old computer? Date: 10/5/2012 10:30 PM
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chasb: If you take the hard drive out the computer is pretty useless to Goodwill or anybody else.


I'm late to this discussion, but....

What chasb wrote may be true in SOME places, but is totally wrong here.

Austin areas Goodwill stores send all donated computers and computer equipment to a specific store which specializes only in electronics. Computers are brought to a working condition where possible and, if not, they are parted out for sale. Behind the counters you'll find RAM and HDDs; on the racks there'll be bins of sound cards, low-end video cards, cables (of all types), etc.

If you're in the Austin area, the store is on the NE corner of I-35 and Hwy 183, within sight of the clock tower.

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