Skip to comments.Finding a Home for Old Computers
Posted on 01/02/2005 9:12:01 PM PST by crushelits
If getting rid of clutter happens to be one of your New Year's resolutions, nothing will clear up a few cubic feet of space like getting an old computer, monitor or printer out the door.
In most cases, selling that antique hardware to a friend, co-worker or eBay user won't be an option computers lose their value faster than almost any other manufactured product in history. Just tossing them in the trash isn't a good idea either: Most computing gear contains such toxic components as lead, mercury and cadmium.
Instead, your options probably fall into the same two categories as a lot of other household junk: recycling or disposal.
The simplest choice is one of the computer-recycling programs that many PC vendors run. Gateway (www.gateway.tradeups.com), Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com/recycle) and Dell (www.dell.com/recycle) all accept defunct computers regardless of brand. Just fill out an online form, pay a processing fee (usually $15 to $35) and pack up the old equipment. A shipper will show up at your door a few days later to whisk it away. In some cases, you can get a rebate toward the purchase of a new machine.
Equipment taken in through such recycling programs will be shipped to facilities built for breaking computers back down to their basic elements. Plastic, glass, steel, aluminum, copper, gold and silver -- all found inside desktops and laptops -- can be recovered and reused; the toxic leftovers will be safely disposed of.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Office Depot was running a recycle program for awhile. I have 4 to get rid of this year ... need the space. But how to wipe the hard drive clean?
Also, if aluminum re-cycling plants will pay me to return cans, etc., why shouldn't a computer company pay me?
I picked up an old but brand new in the box printer at the dump last summer. It was just sitting in front of a dumpster. I Ebayed a printer cable and youngest has a printer now.
Just reformat the hard drive. By CIA standards (or so I hear) a hard drive must be reformatted three times to be officially "clean."
why bother - just grab a screw driver and pull the HDs out and throw 'em in a drawer or somethin
Stick it in an 80 ton fender press and cycle the press, or toss it into a lit fireplace. Guaranteed. 0 recoverable data.
I've always wished that someone (much smarter than me) would write an absolutely foolproof and simple to use email program for older folks to use to communicate via email and perhaps even instant messaging to their loved ones. I think it would be wonderful for shut-ins, those in various types of care facilities, etc., and a wonderful use of old, recycled computers that wouldn't be useful for much else.
Google up a utility called gdisk.exe. It'll wipe and rewrite to prevent retrieval.
This is the best solution. When you buy a computer, it's nice to have 2 spare drives so you can offload files to them. By having 3 drives, it reduces head motion and the system actually will run faster. It really does work. Also
you can use one of the 2 extra spindles to backup to.
P.S.: Of course you could do what one "bright" person did. Smash the drive with a sledge hammer. (In a room adjacent to a bank vault, equipped with the obligitory vibration sensors. ;-)
Cool. Where do I get an 80 ton fender press? What is it? :)
There is a program called Shredder that should be available in the public domain. Let's just say it gets the seal of approval from the 3-letter agencies.
I set up a pc for my Mom with nothing on the desktop but an icon that say "MAIL" and another that says "NET".
She forgets which button to push to turn it "ON".
No no no no no. Formatting a hard drives does NOT alter the data. It's all still there, all still accessible by anyone who knows what they're doing. (Like me.:)
You want to WIPE the drive, which is the process of actually overwriting each sector on the hard drive with meaningless "data." Most wipe utilities by default write a "00" to each sector. A single-pass wipe will be fine. There are plenty of freebie wipe programs out there. Go to download.com and do a search on WIPE and see what you find.
Out of curiosity, how do you recover data from a reformatted drive?
gdisk download. I suppose you unzip then this goes on a floppy that you boot to.
gwscan is a fast all purpose hard drive wiper. Works on just about all drives. It's at the Gateway website under downloads
Or.....and you won't have to pay shipping for this method...join a Freecycle group, offer your computer, and somebody who needs one will respond to your offer and come pick it up.
Last time I looked....
He had a 286,386,486,486 souped up with Pentium Overdrive,and a 166 Mhz Pentium down there.
In most cases that I've used it, data recovery was complete and reliable. In one instance, the reliability of the data was spotty, and had to be verified. Recovery is easy, with a small learning curve, and takes a couple hours for a 250 Gig drive.
A fender press forms car fenders. I can assure you, that a hood or door press will work just as well.
I over heard a friend talking to his elderly mother after Church recently. She was concerned that her comp. might get a virus. he told her it wasn't possible because it wasn't online and she's the only one that's on it. She said, oh no, your father uses it too.
Look it up on the net.
Now, who can recommend a good (and free) encryption program? I've been using this one. Are there better ones?
If you know how, you can do it manually with something as simple as Norton's old DISKEDIT.EXE DOS utility. Of course, this will turn into a VERY time consuming process very quickly. So from a practical perspective, you'd want to use recovery software designed to automate the task. I do digital forensics work and have a number of different forensic packages I work with.
What is it you want to encrypt?
Sledgehammer. 10 times. No information can be recovered.
I take the hard drive out & smash it with a BIG hammer. You must smash the platter inside the metal case, so be sure to do a good job.
This is safer than any amount of reformatting. They will recycle the computer without the hard drive inside it.
Then I have a question for you. I run Spybot on both my computers, and the desktop keeps showing 5 entries of DSO Exploit. I can run the program, choose to remove the DSO Exploit, run the program again, and they still show up. I DON'T want to reformat my hard drive -- how can I clean DSO off my machine?
My Raquel Darrien collection, of course. (Do you leave yours unencrypted?) And some financial stuff. Files, not drives.
fdisk and destroy the partitions. Create a new one and while formatting, shut the machine off. There are low-level recovery programs that can get somebody back, but not well known. You will be safe.
You can go to the Active@ web site and download their free utility that will overwrite all the data on the drive. This should be OK for most people. However, if you've got really sensative data that you need to be sure can NOT be recovered, they've got a commercial product that conforms to DOD requirements.
I've had certain government agencies as clients, and they wanted some hard drives replaced under warranty, and I had to explain to them that if they wanted the drives replaced under warranty, the drives had to be shipped back to the manufacturer.
The way they "wiped" the drives was putting them through a metal shredder! It's hard to recover data from 1/2" square shards of metal!
Probably true, but not guaranteed. The military has a crack digital forensics operation, run by the Air Force IIRC, though it does work for all the branches. Anyway, the authorities went to a guy's house to question him about his wife's murder. He decided to get cute with them and grabbed a big pair of scissors and cut a floppy diskette into 23 pieces then handed it to them. The forensic guys put it back together and got enough data from it to convict the jerk. :-)
I guess they preferred replacement rather than repair, eh? ;)
1/4" Metal Bit in a drill
10-800 holes thru the disk case
buy a new disk for 30 bucks
First off, it depends on what sort of "format" you're talking about... If you're talking about a DOS "format," that's the equivalent of taking a book and ripping out the table of contents. It's relatively easy to reconstruct the data with a number of different software packages.
If you're talking about a Windows format, or some other disk wiping packages that write the same data to every disk block (like zeroing it out), there is filter software that will allow you to read the latent magnetic signature (though this usually needs to be done by disasembling the drive. Most data recovery houses are capable of doing this. If random data is repeatedly written to every block of the drive, it's nearly impossible to recover the data, but I've heard that at Ft. Meade, they have the tools to do it (at least sometimes).
Best use for an old case I've ever seen!!! :-)
I kid you not... When my grandmother heard that my father had gotten bronchitus, she thought that he might have caught a "computer virus!" Really, I'm seriuos!
Agreed, new drives aren't expensive these days either.