How to safely dispose of a computer

Discussion in 'General Computer Chat' started by peter912, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    315
    How would you safely dispose of a computer, so that sensitive material, such as banking information, doesn't fall into the wrong hands ? If the computer has a password can its information still be accessed by someone ? Right now it is just in storage in my buildings locker where I live. What if I just placed it beside the garbage room, could someone take it and get into the computer without knowing its password ? In the past I just physically dismantled my old computers in the basement of my house but I live in an apartment building now and don't know what to do with it ? What would you suggest ?
     
  2. _Kyle_

    _Kyle_ Active Member

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    Just remove the HDD or other storage devices and keep them somewhere safe.
     
  3. _Pete_

    _Pete_ Active Member

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    Remove the hard drive and either keep it as a spare or extra storage or, if you don't want it, drill holes in the platter/s or knock a big nail through them a couple of times. Information can be retrieved even if you have wiped the drive. There are programs available, both free and paid for, that claim to completely wipe a drive. Personally I wouldn't trust them. If I dispose of a drive, even if it doesn't work, I drill three holes all the way through the outer case and the platters. The rest you can just bin or whatever your local regulations dictate.
     
  4. AlienMenace

    AlienMenace Well-Known Member

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    Like the others had said what to do with the storage device (HDD/SSD's), for the rest of it. Find a Goodwill or computer store and see if they can take the case.
     
  5. Shlouski

    Shlouski VIP Member

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    I would just use killdisk and then use it in another build, I think the chances of someone looking, finding and then retrieving anything useful after a couple of killdisks is extremely remote.
    Doing physical damage to a drive can be a great way of destroying data, but data can still survive if not done correctly and there are businesses that make money recovering data from damaged drives. Hdd's use patters to store information, if any of these patters survive the destruction of the drive then there is the potential for data recovery, though unlikely. Ssd's use nand flash memory chips, if one or more of these chips survives the destruction process then again there is a possibility of data recovery.
    Personally I would use killdisk and then reuse the drive in the knowledge that the more it gets reused the less likely the original data could be recoverable.
     
  6. AlienMenace

    AlienMenace Well-Known Member

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    You know what a joke would be, take the HDD apart and remove the platters all together and put the HDD back together and slip it back into the machine. That would be funny.
     
    _Kyle_ likes this.
  7. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    but if the computer has a password then how can anything be viewed without the password ? I know that cell phones are practically impossible to hack into without the password
     
  8. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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    41,608
    Data can be retrieved very easily just by attaching the drive to a another pc. You won't need the password.
     
    beers and AlienMenace like this.
  9. beers

    beers Moderator Staff Member

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    8,303
    As per John the password just auths you against your Windows installation. Unless you use some full disk encryption mechanism then you can just read the files when mounted into another computer.
     
  10. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    So I removed the cover from the case . Then I took out 2 hard drives and four sticks of ram from the computer. I then smashed up the inside a bit with a hammer and cut all the wires with a wire cutter. I put the cover back on the computer and left the empty case beside the garbage room in the condo building where I live.
     
  11. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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    You didn't have to go to that extreme. If it was still in working order why didn't you just donate it after taking the hard drive out?
     
  12. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    315
    It wasn't of any use because it was running on a Windows that is no longer supported by Microsoft. That's the reason that I replaced it to begin with.
     
  13. _Kyle_

    _Kyle_ Active Member

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    True, but electronic parts (e-waste) are very useful. It could have been recycled.
     
  14. Darren

    Darren Moderator Staff Member

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    It SHOULD have been recycled. Electronics should not go out with the conventional trash, lots of heavy metals and other nasty crap in them that should be safely processed or broken down. Even if the computer itself was unusable in its current state it would have been scrapped if you'd taken it to a recycler.
     
    _Kyle_ likes this.
  15. TheRealSwede

    TheRealSwede Member

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    Yes! but the old unusable windows is inside your harddrives, not in the rest of the electronics..
    Killing the disks is one thing (somewhat ok) but hammering the motherboard etc. is overkill..

    I understood that your intension was to keep sensitive information to your self, if so..
    it´s a overkill to break the motherboard etc.. Removing the disks if enough..

    Older computers might be use as firewalls (with an extra network-card inserted) like this one:
    https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-xg-firewall-home-edition.aspx
    It protects up to 50 separate devices for free...
    Someone might have liked to use your old hardware for that..
    (Just saying till next time.. and so others does not ruin their old hardware.. )
     
  16. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    This I did not know "the old unusable windows is inside your harddrives" So my question is, could I have just uninstalled the old windows and install the latest windows , or was it best to just replace the entire computer like I did ?
     
  17. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    It didn't go out with the conventional trash . I placed it on the floor beside the garbage room and it is the superintendents job to recycle it, after all he has to do something for the free apartment and $70,000 salary that the clowns on the board in the building pay him , lol
     
    Darren likes this.
  18. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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    41,608
    The only thing you really needed to do was if you were worried about your data was to just remove the hard drives. If the pc was still in good working order but just had an old version of windows on it, it could have been used by someone.
     
  19. peter912

    peter912 Member

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    315
    You know I am still confused by this. If the password is with Windows and Windows is on the Hard Drive, then removing the Hard Drive and installing it in another computer, how does this bypass the password to gain access to the contents of the Hard Drive ? Then by the same reasoning why is it almost impossible to gain access to the contents stored in a cell phone without the password ?
     
  20. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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    41,608
    Because if you aren't booting to this particular hard drive you don't need a password to access the data. I do this all the time when hard drives crash that have passwords for login. You slave the drive to another system, take ownership of folders/files and you can access whatever you want.
    Cell phones are a different animal. Sort of like comparing apples to oranges. Basically better security trying to access data on a phone with a password then trying to access a hard drive.
     

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