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What to do if you give away or donate your computer

Discussion in 'Bits & Bytes' started by Stiofan, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    There may come a time when you want to give your working computer away or donate it to a charity, school or church. After seeing a report on CNN yesterday about them finding hundreds of credit card numbers on discarded computers, I remembered this program, <b><a href="http://dban.sourceforge.net/">Darik's Boot and Nuke</a></b>, AKA DBAN. It's a small linux freeware program you burn to either a floppy or CDR, and when you boot the machine, it searches for every IDE or SCSI hard drive and "scrubs" them. It uses the well know "Wipe" utility, essentially overwriting the drives with 35 passes of both random generated code, and Peter Gutman's patterns.
    <b>Warning</b>: This is not an erasing utility, which will scrub select areas of your drives at your command. It will literally do what it's title says, it will nuke your drives completely. Unless you have a whole lot of money, and most likely even then, you will not be able to recover any data on your drives. If you want a good windows eraser, which will reside on your right click context menu so you can erase select files, with a nice interface, I suggest <b><a href="http://www.pt.lu/comnet/desc/eraser.html">Eraser</a></b> which I've used with great success for a couple of years now. No longer being updated, I believe, but still a great freeware program. This link is one of the last places you can find the latest version. It also uses Gutmans patterns, along with an algorythm developed by the DOD. It won't go wild on your system, however, and is user controlled.

    <b>Double Warning!</b>: This boot scrub program is important to use to remove all data from your old computers before you give them away, but in the wrong hands can cause all kinds of problems as you can imagine. Please label the disk with big letters on what is on it, so you don't inadvertantly use it by mistake (or someone else around the house or office does).
     
  2. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Thanks, InsAgt! This is great.
    Two years ago I got a grant that included a laptop computer. The college said "we have to call it a '2-year loaner' computer, but don't worry, there's no way we're going to ask for it back. Or we'll just 'loan' it back to you indefinitely. We just don't want you to sell it or anything, but don't worry, it's yours to keep."
    So, foolishly, I took them at their word. I worked very hard on that grant for two years, and used the laptop a lot.
    Now they're telling me...
    "Time's UP! We need that laptop back, as of 2/1/03. We're going to loan it out to students to take with them to other campuses on 'exploring transfer' visits."
    Not much I can do, it is their property...but there's no way I want to just turn it over to let STUDENTS (gasp!) get their hands on my data (student papers and grades, banking, amazon.com orders--no porn <small>the porn's on my <b>own</b> computer ;)</small>, I promise, but still!)
    So all this is to say...Thanks! I'm going to <b>NUKE</b> the hard drive. Then they can have it back, and welcome to it (it's just a damn compaq, anyway).
     

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