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Computer Disposal

Discussion in 'General Hardware Issues' started by computer unsavvy, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. computer unsavvy

    computer unsavvy Techie7 New Member

    I have been holding onto two computers (laptop and desktop) for about 9 years because I am not computer literate and do not want to trash them without disposing of personal information. Can anyone tell me what the best solution is?
  2. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Hi computer unsavvy and welcome to Techie7.

    First :21: for thinking about security. Sadly, many don't when giving away or disposing old hard drives (and it is the drives you need to be concerned about).

    I am going to assume after 9 years, there is no information on those hard drives you want keep. So what you need to do is "wipe" the drives. Deleting and formatting do not remove data, they only mark the storage locations as available. Any data previously stored there is still there, just ready to be overwritten (or discovered by a badguy).

    Note that someone would need to go looking for that deleted data, a normal user would not accidently stumble on it through normal use. But it is still better to be safe, than sorry.

    So to prevent ANY data from being recovered, by chance or purpose, all the storage locations on the drives must be overwritten - not simply marked as available and this is done with "wipe" programs which write a bunch of random 1s and 0s in every storage location, obliterating any patterns of 1s and 0s representing real data.

    What are you planning on doing with these computers? Sending them to the recycle bins, or are they going to someone else?

    If going to the recycle bin, I recommend pulling the hard drives and temporarily connecting them to, or installing them in (as secondary - NOT BOOT - drives) another computer, then running Eraser – which uses DBAN technologies, or the "Drive Wiper" feature in CCleaner (select CCleaner Slim version for no toolbar option).

    If these machines still work and the computers will be used by someone else, then I recommend you delete all your personal data/files, then run CCleaner's Drive Wiper feature and select "Free Space Only" to ensure that data is unrecoverable.

    Note by being 9 years old, they likely are EIDE (PATA) drives, which have been superseded by SATA. Depending on how old your current computer is, it may not easily support EIDE. You may need to purchase a USB/EIDE enclosure or adapter.

    Alternatively, you can simply destroy the drives by drilling 3 holes all the way through the drives, about 1 inch from the center spindle.