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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

By john.williamson ·
We have a truckload of old electronic equipment that will be picked up for recycling the week of January 21.

We need to erase/remove/destroy the data on all PC hard drives prior to disposal. The data is not necessarily private or confidential, but at the same time it should not be avilable to the public.

Most of the PCs are Windows 3.1 (some only have DOS and a couple machines have Windows 95).

What would be the most effective way to accomplish this task?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by Ann777 In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

There's software you can purchase for this purpose:

http://www.east-tec.com/


There's also shareware/freeware that you may download from www.download.com (search for "erase data"):

(freeware)
http://download.cnet.com/downloads/1,10150,0-10001-103-0-1-7,00.html?tag=srch&qt=erase+data&cn=&ca=10001

(freeware)
http://download.cnet.com/downloads/0-10096-100-4949290.html?tag=st.dl.10001-103-1.lst-7-12.4949290

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by Ann777 In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

As always, please remove any embedded spaces from the above links when pasting into your browser.

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by john.williamson In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Thank you!

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by SyscoKid In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Make a boot disk and add the format.exe to it if it's not there by default.

Craete an autoexec.bat on the boot disk with the command

format C: /u

(also /s if you want the drive to be clean but bootable).

Make a bunch of copies of the boot disk. Plug in your old equipment, put the disks in, turn the machines on, and wait.

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by john.williamson In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Thank you!

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by TheChas In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Even the /u format will not prevent recovery if someone wants to put a lot of effort into the task.

Use fdisk to remove the partition(s).

Reboot, and use fdisk again to repartition. the greatest security, is if the new partition(s) are a different size than the original. That way, there is now way to recover the old MBR and retrieve files.

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by john.williamson In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Thank you!

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by saihib In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Do what we did at my company. Get a powerful magnet and set it on each hard drive for about 20 seconds. This will scramble the data beyond recovery.

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by saihib In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

The magnetic layer on a disk already has millions of individual domains ? tiny magnetic fields produced by small clumps of atoms. By sweeping a stronger magnet across the domains, those polarities can be read or switched, depending on the proximity of the magnet. Thus, a computer can both read and alter the data on a hard drive.
This, of course, is why bringing a magnet close to your hard drive or floppy disk can be fatal to data. The strong domain of even a common household magnet can wipe out the carefully altered domains, effectively turning a string of ones and zeros into a uniform pattern of ones

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How to prepare old PCs for disposal?

by john.williamson In reply to How to prepare old PCs fo ...

Thank you!

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