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The W - Random - What to do with one's old/obsolete computer
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FLRockAndLaw
Boerewors








Since: 2.1.02
From: Central Florida, somewhere between Orlando and Tampa, U.S.A.

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.00
I just bought a new computer, and I'm wondering what to do with my old one. It's an HP Pavilion 4535 that I bought back in 1999 with the following specs:
Windows 98
Intel 400mHz CPU
64 MB SDRAM
6 GB Hard Drive
32X CD-ROM read only
56.6K modem
(with a Compaq 10/100 Ethernet card installed)

It's pretty obsolete by today's standards (duh), but still somewhat workable, dpepending on what you want to do with it.

I'm in a small town and county in Central Florida, and there are few (if any) used computer stores or Mom & Pop computer stores around here. Somehow, the Salvation Army doesn't seem appropriate. The only other options I can think of are to see if I can get some money for it at a pawnshop or to see if one of the local schools or libraries needs it. Of course, with some of the problems I've had with it when I filled up the hard drive, I'm tempted to take it out to an open field and do an "Office Space" job on it, heh heh heh...

How about you, Wieners? What have you done with your old 'n' obsolete computers when it was time to get rid of 'em?



THE CONSPIRACY FAILS - Randomly Selected Wiener of the Day, August 13, 2002
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Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 22 days
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.83
In the past? I've hosted this site with one

I'd look for someone who accepts donations. Here in town there was a storefront that was run by a charity - I dropped off about 2 boxes of hardware on them one day (about 2 months before they closed up shop)

Good luck. I generally see 15" monitors for $5 here in the thrift stores, so I'm guessing there isn't a big used computer market.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
Mr Heel II
Lap cheong








Since: 25.2.02

Since last post: 17 hours
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
Whatever you do, definetely wipe the hard drive. What you leave on it WILL get looked at by those who end up with it.
Merc
Potato korv








Since: 3.1.02
From: Brisbane, Australia

Since last post: 1200 days
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.62
I'm sure there would be a shelter, charity, school, some group who would take it off your hands. it might take you some time finding them, but think of the positive karma.



...like that first time you dryhumped your high school girlfriend- sweaty, repulsive, messy.
-DEAN~!
pieman
As young as
he feels








Since: 11.12.01
From: China, Maine

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.21

Mine with nearly the exact same specs is sitting in the garage. It's waiting for summertime and a sledgehammer.




Gabba Gabba Hey!


AWArulz
Knackwurst








Since: 28.1.02
From: Louisville, KY

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.72
Find a group that takes donations - here are a couple of options

http://www.microweb.com/ pepsite/Recycle/Florida.html

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/ waste/categories/electronics/ pages/reuseanddonations.htm

http://apps.sdhc.k12.fl.us/ public/dept/adult-community/ newsviews.htm





Rasslin' republicans - visit it soon
vsp
Andouille








Since: 3.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 2945 days
Last activity: 158 days
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
Heh - send it to me. My primary computer is an Athlon 1300, but I'm strongly considering upgrading to a better backup, as my alternatives are my old Packard Bell Crashmaster P-133* and a Mac IIfx.

(* - It's a Pentium-133 only in name, as it started out in life as a P-75, and despite a small flotilla of upgrades, its benchmarks are closer to 75 than to 133.)




"As far as my lack of professional courtesy and my obvious immature humor in referring to using your head as a pickle jar, well, I reserve my courtesy for those whom I respect. Your lack of personal integrity has given me much grief, and I find that thinking of your hollowed-out head sitting on top of my fridge and providing a safe haven for pickles is a comforting thought."
-- the immortal Bill Mattocks
Jericholic53
Boerewors








Since: 18.3.03
From: Honolulu, HI

Since last post: 228 days
Last activity: 12 hours
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.30
    Originally posted by Mr Heel II
    Whatever you do, definetely wipe the hard drive. What you leave on it WILL get looked at by those who end up with it.


i'm thinking of selling my laptop and was wondering just how *do* you do that (clear the hard drive)? will i need to reinstall windows? a friend told me it would be enough to just delete all of my personal files and then clear out all of my "index.dat" files. which is the more viable option?



it says so right here in the wcw handbook!
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 22 days
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.83
A simple format is not enough to do it. You have to write / overwrite the erased sectors with new data in order to keep someone from recovering data from it.

I don't know of a utility to do this - I just remove all of my old hard drives and keep them in a drawer. At some point, I'll take them down to the beach and throw them in a bonfire.

You can never be too careful though. I've got turbotax, bank records, 401k, etc. If all of that got in the wrong hands, I'd be in deep shit.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
bash91
Merguez








Since: 2.1.02
From: Plain Dealing, LA

Since last post: 710 days
Last activity: 2 days
#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
There are several different utilities that will clean your hard drive to DoD standards for classified materials (http://www.killdisk.com/dod.htm). Last time I got rid of a computer, I used Killdisk (http://www.killdisk.com/eraser.htm) and it worked exceptionally well, albeit slowly.

Or, you can always do as my brother in law does and use your old hard drive for target practice.

Tim



"Verhoeven's _Starship Troopers_: Based on the back cover of the book by Robert Heinlein."
loose_cannon
Weisswurst








Since: 31.8.03
From: Mesquite, TX / Newcastle, England

Since last post: 3177 days
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.25
Does Norton Ghost flatten drives completely?
I'm not sure but my friend swears by it when reinstalling windows instead of just using the format option in setup...



In Darkness .... Scotty
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 22 days
Last activity: 1 day
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.83
Two different things, here.

Thanks for the link to killdisk, I couldn't remember the name of it.

Here's the interesting bit about HD erasing:

d. Overwrite all addressable locations with a character, its complement, then a random character and verify. THIS METHOD IS NOT APPROVED FOR SANITIZING MEDIA THAT CONTAINS TOP SECRET INFORMATION.

...

f. Each overwrite must reside in memory for a period longer than the classified data resided.

Depending on who is trying to recover data from your equipment, simply erasing the data is not enough. It has to do with how long an area of a disk was written with a value - there are memory effects. Not enough to keep a computer from telling a 1 from a 0, but enough to tell if that 1 was a 1 a month ago, or if it was a 0. Creepy, eh?

That's why my stuff is in a file cabinet waiting to be burned at a later date. My tax info has been in the same spot on the HD for 2-3 years in some cases...



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
Leroy
Andouille








Since: 7.2.02
From: Huntington, NY

Since last post: 2 days
Last activity: 6 hours
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.88
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    >Depending on who is trying to recover data from your equipment, simply erasing the data is not enough. It has to do with how long an area of a disk was written with a value - there are memory effects. Not enough to keep a computer from telling a 1 from a 0, but enough to tell if that 1 was a 1 a month ago, or if it was a 0. Creepy, eh?

    That's why my stuff is in a file cabinet waiting to be burned at a later date. My tax info has been in the same spot on the HD for 2-3 years in some cases...


What if you tried installing another operating system after you erased the disk? Say if you ran Quickbooks on XP, erased the hard drive. and then installed linux?
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 22 days
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.83
Well, I'm sure not an expert on this, but from what I understand you can tell anyway. It doesn't matter what's on the drive - even if it's been overwritten. You can still figure out what had been there before.

I think the problem is that we think about harddrives like they are these precise things that store data in a digital form, either ones or zeros. The fact is, they are analog - and they represent digital data by reading charges and rounding off.

The problem is that very smart people with the right equipment can tell the difference between a charge of .95, 1.0, or 1.05 (fake numbers, but you get the idea).

Me, I'm just paranoid enough about identity theft to save the hard drives. I figure if they are in my desk drawer or in a box in my closet, that no one is reading the data on them.

I had a really good web page on this early (30 minutes ago) but I've lost it. I can rummage through my history if you are interested.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
CRZ
Big Brother
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.65
For someone so paranoid, you sure keep telling us where you're keeping all those hard drives.



CRZ
Leroy
Andouille








Since: 7.2.02
From: Huntington, NY

Since last post: 2 days
Last activity: 6 hours
#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.88
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    I had a really good web page on this early (30 minutes ago) but I've lost it. I can rummage through my history if you are interested.


I am interested if it's not too much trouble.

On a side note, I took a networking class back in graduate school with a CS Professor who did (and still does, I believe) some consulting work for the governemnt. After a review session, we got to talking about this stuff. He got the class so freaked out that literally half of us went out and bought paper shredders that week (it was a small class, but still...)

His basic conclusion was that best you can do is protect yourself from someone looking to take advantage of anyone. But if someone's looking to get you - and they know how to do it - there's little you can do to stop them.
AWArulz
Knackwurst








Since: 28.1.02
From: Louisville, KY

Since last post: 4 days
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Y!:
#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.72
    Originally posted by CRZ
    For someone so paranoid, you sure keep telling us where you're keeping all those hard drives.


They were in his desk drawer. {Laughs maniacally}

(edited by AWArulz on 5.1.04 2049)


Rasslin' republicans - visit it soon
DJ FrostyFreeze
Knackwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Hawthorne, CA

Since last post: 88 days
Last activity: 1 day
#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.95

    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    That's why my stuff is in a file cabinet waiting to be burned at a later date.
Any particular reason you dont toast those old HDs right away as soon as you replace them?





Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 22 days
Last activity: 1 day
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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.83
Yeah, well, there's nothing really bad on them. Just personal stuff. I may at some point need them for running a message board or something

Speaking of which, I really should put up that messsage begging for money to pay for the new server.





Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
Moderator








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

Since last post: 4 days
Last activity: 21 min.
#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
When you delete a file, all the OS does is replace the first character of the filename to a Sigma (Well, it did back in MS-DOS 6x). That tells the OS that the file is to be overwritten, if needed, in the future.

I used to have a program that when i needed to delete a directory or whatnot, it would rename the file to A. (A and no extention) and delete the file.

That file now has a Sigma. as a file name.

If you had 200 files, and did that to all, in theory, no one could recover the files beause MS-DOS's unerase could not unerase files with the same name.

I eventually change the code so it would overwrite the file with Omegas, then delete it. (A 2,689,658 byte file would get 2,689,658 omegas written to it)

Sadly that program was lost to hard drive crashes ago.






"The band is OUT ON THE FIELD!!!"

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