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Used for Parts Or...
updated: Dec 10, 2013, 2:00 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have several lap tops that don't work...no battery power left and the plugs are all missing. If I donate them when we have the next free electronic recycling day, will these only be used for parts or would/could someone look at the hard drive for information?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 475937 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:05 PM

If in doubt, take the hard drive out.
Should be easily accessible on older models.


 COMMENT 475938P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:07 PM

A hammer is your friend when recycling computers and phones.


 COMMENT 475939P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:07 PM

Take a sledge hammer to them…that's what I do. Seriously.


 COMMENT 475942 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:14 PM

A hard drive is a part and this is the first thing snoops look at when they get to the recycling centers.


 COMMENT 475945P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:18 PM

Next time, donate any unwanted computers - laptops or desktops to the award winning Computers for Families (CFF) run out of the County Edu. Office (SBCEO)

Call Kris White the director.


 COMMENT 475954 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:39 PM

I just recycled my desktop and I took the hard drive out. Plan to drill some holes in it before I do anything else. It was really old and couldn't run the latest versions of IE or Chrome so donating it was not an option.

256 mb of memory if you can remember the last time you used a computer like that.


 COMMENT 475959 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:55 PM

DiTTO on the destruction of hd.


 COMMENT 475961 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 03:01 PM

You may also take any e-waste to Goodwill. There is now a donation center at 4223 State in addition to the one behind the store on Carrillo.


 COMMENT 475968 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 03:23 PM

There are lots of data recovery services that can reconstruct a physically broken hard drive and extract data. You have to use wiper software to really be sure. The way a hard drive works is that you have file X, stored in say, sector A1B0. When you delete the file, the hard drive's internal directory will delete the data about WHERE the file is stored (A1B0), but it won't actually clear out A1B0 until it needs the spot. What a wiper does is to write new data over the old file, permanently erasing it.


 COMMENT 475979P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 03:49 PM

Use wiper/data destruction software (free online) to mush your data. As 968 says, just erasing or reformatting aren't enough. Then let someone have a chance to use the good components. Amazing how many kids would be thrilled with what can be built from what most of us consider junk computer parts. Give to a reputable entity like the county ed. office.


 COMMENT 475988 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 04:17 PM

Hammer or a drill or a very strong magnet.

Otherwise your data will be snooped. But considering the NSA has already snooped on 90% of all American's hard drives, you will only be deleting their backup...


 D8VANILLA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 05:40 PM

Definitely take out your hard drive, or destroy it. You have personal information that can be used by someone.... especially since you don't know WHERE that old laptop will end up.


 COMMENT 476014 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 05:52 PM

Hammer - agreed.


 COMMENT 476037 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 06:56 PM

+1 for a heavy hammer. It's also cathartic. Merry whack-whack Christmas!


 COMMENT 476047P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 07:33 PM

Never, ever give away a PC, laptop, tablet, etc... without taking out the HD and physically destroying it. A determined hacker can resurrect an HD no matter how many times it has been wiped.


 COMMENT 476062 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 08:34 PM

Remove hard drive and smack it a bit. Then submerge in water for a WHILE.


 COMMENT 476088 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 06:41 AM

Secure delete software (available from pretty much any purveyor of good anti-virus S/W as part of a "security suite") is the proper way to go if you can start the computer and connect it to the proper web site or run the machine from a DVD CD, or floppy drive.

If not, physically remove the HD and drill a few holes through it or whack it severely with a hammer so that the damage on one side shows through on the other. any trick involving magnets will usually not work unless you disassemble the drive and run the magnets directly on the internal platters many times - knife or rough sanpaper works better

Safety first - use glasses/goggles and hold the HD in a vise, not with hands or use a drill press.

Physical destruction leaves much data on there but makes it so expensive to recover that it isn't worth it to an ID thief or even a cop investigating property crimes.


 COMMENT 476089P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 06:51 AM

I appreciate the rampant paranoia on display here, but how EXACTLY does a master hacker, capable of recovering data from an erased or reformatted hard drive actually gain possession of a junked computer's innards?


 COMMENT 476091 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 07:32 AM

100% safety requires burning you hard drive in your fireplace.


 COMMENT 476097P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 07:45 AM

089, $$$. And when used for identity theft, worth every penny, surely.


 COMMENT 476098P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 07:48 AM

091 Burning it in the fireplace? Really? Sounds unhealthy at the very least. We take a heavy hammer to ours.


 COMMENT 476100 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 07:53 AM

"""All""" they've got to do is get ALL the pieces of your shattered, drilled through hard drive platters, reassemble the pieces, get them back to near perfectly true balance and flawlessly, microscopically smooth and level enough to spin at 5,000 RPM or 7,500 RPM with nary a wobble and with a minimum and maximum spacing between the heads and platters being consistently about the width of a cigarette smoke particle, about a thousandth of the thickness of a human hair, oh yeah, and then vacuum evacuate the enclosure, ensuring it's clear of all dust or smoke particles and simply hermetically reseal it.

Then they've got virtually *NO* work at all, but to reconstruct the data from the fragmentary remains of the patters' surfaces.

There's really """Nothing""" to it ;)


 COMMENT 476133 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:52 AM

89P, these hard drives end up at a recycler who is happy to sell them to someone in a marketplace in Asia who thinks they can sell it to someone who wants a hard drive for whatever purpose, including hacking, curiosity, or simple amusement. The world really is global. Stolen phones are ending up being used by S American drug cartels, for example.

100, exactly why so many here advocate the hammer approach.


 COMMENT 476138 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:08 AM

Taking those laptops to the next e-waste event is not donating them, it's disposing of them. It is also highly unlikely that any of the parts will be reused. So far all the rest of the comments have the right idea take the drives out smash them or destroy them in some other physical way so that no one can get the information off of them. Looks like you getting a head start on spring cleaning, congratulations. Cheers!


 COMMENT 476143 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:17 AM

Just smash it, don't bother wiping. No one is going to piece together your broken drive unless you commit some serious crime. They couldn't even piece together Adamn Lanza's busted drives.

Also, only wiping once does NOT permanently get rid of the data. Government agencies write over data multiple times when disposing of sensitive data.


 COMMENT 476145 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:22 AM

After you clear the data (the software sounds like a good idea) consider donating PC computers to the computers for families programs through the county education office.
sbceo (dot) org or search
refurbish donate computers santa barbara


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