Proper Computer Disposal?

Hexa Fox

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Sep 8, 2013
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Hey guys I was hoping that this community could help me out on this topic.

I have heard many times that properly recycling/disposing of computer related equipment can come back to haunt the owner. I do not want to be one of these people. I have already done some good research, but want some real feedback here.

So I have several old computers that I would like to properly recycle. Among them are some devices that were used by several other family members and were used for a long period of time. Therefore, I do not even want to think about what kind of sensitive data could be on them.

Therefore, I have narrowed it down to two different options I was hoping you guys could help me figure out.

1.) Purge
If I find some reputable software I could consider trying to completely erase the contents of the hard disk drives. This would allow me to bring the entire computer into a location to be properly recycled. However, I understand this method is good, but not 100% full proof. This I do not like.

2.) Destroy
I could remove the hard drive and destroy the disk. Then throw what is left in my metal scrap pile and make a one cent profit off it later. Then take the computers to the location to be properly recycled minus the hard drives.

To make a long story short I am opting more for destroying them (HDD's) than anything. I do not know how much you guys keep up with the latest trends, but I constantly hear of places like Best Buy snooping through contents of devices that are being repaired/recycled. It sucks @$$ that we cannot recycle electronics without having to worry about some @$$ snooping through our personal lives. It is no wonder so much of these components end up in a landfill rather than recycling centers.
 

kanewolf

Splendid
Moderator
My recommendation is to remove any hard disks and drill holes (some of my friends prefer shooting holes) through them. A few 1/4 or 3/8 inch holes all the way through them. They are not readable by anybody but a govt agency after that. Then toss them in the scrap metal recycling.
 

Hexa Fox

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Well there is only one response to this:

:lol:
 

Hexa Fox

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This is West Virginia... so firearms are abundant here. Therefore, the shooting idea definitely has me intrigued.

1.) Remove hard disk drive.

2.) Dissemble hard disk drive.

3.) Pin disk to target outback and shoot?

How about an angle grinder? Would it not be better to damage the surface as much as possible?
 

Martell1977

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I find that shooting them or using a 3 pound sledge hammer works nicely. After a few good whacks with the hammer it sounds like it's full of shattered glass, but shooting them with a .30-06 rifle can be a lot more fun. Sadly California just closed the local area that target shooting was legal so...my hammer will get more of the work.
 

Hexa Fox

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All of this absolutely excellent answers to my address my privacy concerns!

Sledge Hammers

Firearms

Power Tools

I am quickly getting overwhelmed lol. Anyone want to add something else like a hydraulic press, or running it over with the lawn mower?
 

kanewolf

Splendid
Moderator


You don't have to remove the platters. Just shoot right through the enclosure. Same with drilling. Just drill straight through. Drill press works well for this.
 

JordanMihailov

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Just destroy it then :)) Nomatter how and with what tool :)
 

Hexa Fox

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My concern is the personal information that could be on the device. Like I mentioned the two we are contemplating getting rid of have been around for a long time. One has Windows XP and the other has Windows Vista, which are both discontinued anyway. They have been used by different members of my family as well so there is not telling what all could be recovered.

You literally cannot trust anyone these days. I will not point any fingers here, but you can easily do a Google search to see some of the blatant attacks on privacy that have been committed. You will find that these are usually businesses that took in the devices on donation or were tasked with repairing the device. While the devices were in their position they took it upon themselves to go through the personal information contained on the devices.

This is what troubles me.
 

Hexa Fox

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Thanks I was seriously considering just finding a program to wipe the drive(s) several times over. Therefore, I will keep this in mind. However, after getting this feedback I will probably go the safe route and remove the drives before taking them somewhere to be recycled.
 

Hexa Fox

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Yes, this was my main concern in my initial posting of this forum.
 

Hexa Fox

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Did you seriously go there? :lol:

I feel really sorry for people that are not aware of what can be recovered from a HDD. I think the real concern is that they are obscured from the fact that there are people out there willing and able to rummage through the contents of their HDD(s), SSD(s) etc.
 

The Paladin

Estimable
Herald
Did you seriously go there?  
I am just saying... its an option .. right ?

I recycle my old computers by getting new cheap drive, slapping oem windows with license that was on computer (so xp on xc box etc) and I set it up working condition and donate it to a "youth program" in my area that donates these computers to needing families so their children can have a computer do to school work from home instead of at library. (the program gives low cost internet to the same families)

what we think is old (like a Q8300 8gb DDR2 ) is a good computer for learning, not gaming in truth, but eh.. if it was I would still be using it. :)

updated for typos
 

Hexa Fox

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Sep 8, 2013
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Just wanted to say that I really appreciate the feedback from everyone. I think that after taking in the advice from you guys my decision is clear. The storage (HDD's in my case) should be removed from the devices before disposing of them (recycling center, donations, etc). Then the actual HDD's themselves should probably be destroyed as soon as possible.
 
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