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How to safely/securely dispose of an old pc? Watch

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    I have an old pc I no longer use and I want rid of it. Obviously I wouldnt just chuck it in the bin(sensitive stuff is on the pc)

    Can anyone tell me the most secure way to get rid of it?

    Should I burn the Hard drive and ram sticks? Would that be enough to stop someone accessing stuff on the pc?


    Thanks for any info
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    RAM shouldn't be too incriminating, but the hard drive might.

    You can take the chassis and parts to a recycling centre - The local one has a storage container full of electricals and old computers.


    The problem with just deleting things is that, to the best of my knowledge, "deleting" just tells the hard drive that that space is available for re-writing. It doesn't make the data vanish, it will just write over it the next time it saves something. Hence why hard drives are recoverable.

    I believe "CC Cleaner" (usually used to clean up your computer files and I use it as part of my anti-virus scan and deletion session) has a function called "Drive Wiper" under "Tools" which will do this for you. Burning a piece of software called "DBAN" to a CD and booting from the CD when you turn on your computer (you'll probably have to hit F8 a few times to load the "BIOS") will also erase things. Typically 8 passes or so are required as it will delete files and then replace them with gibberish code and then do it again.



    If the computer is not active, you could put it in another computer (being amazingly careful not to erase the wrong hard drive) or just go nutty with a hammer on it. Fire won't kill it. Some say magnets won't either. You could rig it up to a 1000A generator if you wanted (and watch the fireworks) or just take it totally apart and grind the shiny disks down into a fine powder with a hammer. Scatter the powder over the trash or put a bit of it in with every bag of rubbish for the next couple of weeks.
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    Fire cleans all.

    Serious face now, RAM can't store anything unless it is connected to a power source and unless you have some really interesting data (I won't ask ) no-one is likely to go through bins to find your old data. If you really want to securely delete everything ccleaner mentioned by sillyeddy should be good enough. But then you can never beat hammers and fire...
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    Best thing to do is DBAN and then recycle.
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    (Original post by SillyEddy)
    RAM shouldn't be too incriminating, but the hard drive might.
    Rather strange immediate jump to 'incriminating' there. Would it not be more likely that the OP doesn't want people digging up old bank passwords or the like, as opposed to harbouring illegal data?

    You sir, are on my 'suspicious persons' list :holmes:
    (you may however be the only one on it)
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    Magnet. Super strong magnet destroys the hard drive. Then smash it with a hammer and put the pieces in different bins or to different recycling places.
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    (Original post by bloomblaze)
    I have an old pc I no longer use and I want rid of it. Obviously I wouldnt just chuck it in the bin(sensitive stuff is on the pc)

    Can anyone tell me the most secure way to get rid of it?

    Should I burn the Hard drive and ram sticks? Would that be enough to stop someone accessing stuff on the pc?


    Thanks for any info
    Realistically... just overwriting the hard drive with a tool like dd or DBAN will be more than sufficient.
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    Im curious as to what the hell you have on your home computer now...
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    (Original post by bloomblaze)
    I have an old pc I no longer use and I want rid of it. Obviously I wouldnt just chuck it in the bin(sensitive stuff is on the pc)
    Can anyone tell me the most secure way to get rid of it?
    Should I burn the Hard drive and ram sticks? Would that be enough to stop someone accessing stuff on the pc?
    Thanks for any info
    The hard drive(s) are the only things that will retain sensitive information.

    There are various IT tools that will delete the information, and various IT tools that can recover information that has been deleted. Ultimately, the most secure option is to tenderise the hard drive with a sledgehammer.

    The rest of the PC can be recycled at a council dump (well, it can where I live). You could also offer it on Freecycle.
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    To stop access ? A disk shredding program or a literal hdd shredder. A sledge hammer is good too.
    Securely and safely dispose of it, google there's usually secure recycling sites for these things although so long as you keep or mangle completely the hdd it makes little difference.
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    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    The hard drive(s) are the only things that will retain sensitive information.

    There are various IT tools that will delete the information, and various IT tools that can recover information that has been deleted. Ultimately, the most secure option is to tenderise the hard drive with a sledgehammer.

    The rest of the PC can be recycled at a council dump (well, it can where I live). You could also offer it on Freecycle.
    To be fair if you get a decent disk shredder no one is going to be able to recover the data that was once on it
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    To stop access ? A disk shredding program or a literal hdd shredder. A sledge hammer is good too.
    Securely and safely dispose of it, google there's usually secure recycling sites for these things although so long as you keep or mangle completely the hdd it makes little difference.
    (Original post by cl_steele)
    To be fair if you get a decent disk shredder no one is going to be able to recover the data that was once on it
    A long long time ago, government agencies actually did put their disks through a (physical) shredder :eek:
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    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    There are various IT tools that will delete the information,
    Unless it is a large HDD that will make some money by selling it on, I use DBAN and then the most appropriate tool - a hammer.
    If you have 10 minutes and some hex keys take it apart, they are fascinating inside, and once you disassemble it, nobody is getting that info back!
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    (Original post by danny111)
    Magnet. Super strong magnet destroys the hard drive. Then smash it with a hammer and put the pieces in different bins or to different recycling places.
    good luck finding a strong enough magnet to do that. The strongest magnets I've come across are from inside a harddrive I took apart.

    I did come across a device to destroy hard drives with magnetic force once. It came with warnings about not being operated by anyone with a pace maker and to leave any electronics and metallic jewellery several meters away (or it could also get destroyed).

    For most people DBAN really would be good enough it also means you can recycle the drive rather than sending it to landfill.
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    (Original post by mfaxford)
    good luck finding a strong enough magnet to do that. The strongest magnets I've come across are from inside a harddrive I took apart.

    I did come across a device to destroy hard drives with magnetic force once. It came with warnings about not being operated by anyone with a pace maker and to leave any electronics and metallic jewellery several meters away (or it could also get destroyed).

    For most people DBAN really would be good enough it also means you can recycle the drive rather than sending it to landfill.
    You can go to a metal disposal area. You know where they trash cars for example. I imagine those are strong enough.
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    (Original post by danny111)
    You can go to a metal disposal area. You know where they trash cars for example. I imagine those are strong enough.
    possibly but not the sort of thing people have around at home. Software like dban is going to be good enough for pretty much any home user. If it's not then you should already know enough about data security to make this question redundant.
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    Leave it next to your door - it'll be gone in 2 mins tops. (true story)
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    (Original post by mfaxford)
    possibly but not the sort of thing people have around at home. Software like dban is going to be good enough for pretty much any home user. If it's not then you should already know enough about data security to make this question redundant.
    This. The only way to recover data after software like DBAN has been ran on the drive is hardware data forensics; so yes, if you have something on the drive which someone might want to spends 10s of thousands of pounds on recovering, trash the drive with a hammer or whatever. Otherwise, DBAN will do just fine.
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    Petrol + match - boom.

    Problem solved.
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    Sledgehammer it until there are no large fragments anymore. Smash it into dust, basically. It looked pretty effective the last time I did it.
 
 
 
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