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Old 23.02.2015, 17:43
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What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

Hey everyone,
My family as accumulated a few computers (desktops mainly) in the past two decades, and they barely function now, as they barely function, take up too much space, and are basically obsolete given the current paradigm of tech standards. I was thinking of wiping their hard drives (with the aid of a computer specialist) and then putting them in the recycling dump (as I've seen some people throw away their computers there), but I've seen on ebay and ricardo some people selling their broken and/or old computers.

What would you recommend I do? Is there a computer in Switzerland I could possibly bring the computers to in order to have their hard drive wiped and then broken down for spare parts? Or should I just wipe their hard drive and then sell them on ebay/ricardo?
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Old 26.02.2015, 19:44
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

I am facing this question too.

I think it depends on how much time you have on your hands, the immediacy with which you want the equipment gone and how rare you think the items are. I have seen some junk that has been other people's treasure.

Having previously found someone's sensitive information on an item that should have already been wiped before I received it, I would recommend you wiping anything sensitive yourself before it leaves your hands. And then use some high powered magnets ;-)
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Old 26.02.2015, 19:48
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

If it were me and it wasn't anything with real value, I'd take the HD out, physically smash it (having wiped it before hand), and dump the rest of the computer at an electrical shop here (as they have to take old stuff back for recycling). You can dump the HD parts the same way.

If it was an antique with some value and you wanted to sell it, either sell it without the HD (can't be that much of an antique if it has a HD inside) or wipe it as best as you can, fill it up with copies of a large download file (to ensure the wiped disk also has each sector re-written), then reinstall an OS so it boots and sell it.
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Old 26.02.2015, 20:50
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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If it were me and it wasn't anything with real value, I'd take the HD out, physically smash it (having wiped it before hand), and dump the rest of the computer at an electrical shop here (as they have to take old stuff back for recycling). You can dump the HD parts the same way.

If it was an antique with some value and you wanted to sell it, either sell it without the HD (can't be that much of an antique if it has a HD inside) or wipe it as best as you can, fill it up with copies of a large download file (to ensure the wiped disk also has each sector re-written), then reinstall an OS so it boots and sell it.
The only way to be completely sure the hard drive is free of data is to melt the platter, anything else just gives you a false sense of security.
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Old 26.02.2015, 21:43
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

As for the disks, there's always DBAN:
http://www.dban.org/download

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darik%27s_Boot_and_Nuke


Be prepared, though, to wait a long time for large disks.
Old disks are likely die under the process.
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Old 26.02.2015, 21:52
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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The only way to be completely sure the hard drive is free of data is to melt the platter, anything else just gives you a false sense of security.
or let some dust into it, stops mine working like a treat
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Old 27.02.2015, 18:15
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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If it were me and it wasn't anything with real value, I'd take the HD out, physically smash it (having wiped it before hand), and dump the rest of the computer at an electrical shop here (as they have to take old stuff back for recycling). You can dump the HD parts the same way.

If it was an antique with some value and you wanted to sell it, either sell it without the HD (can't be that much of an antique if it has a HD inside) or wipe it as best as you can, fill it up with copies of a large download file (to ensure the wiped disk also has each sector re-written), then reinstall an OS so it boots and sell it.
Thanks for the information :-)
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Old 27.02.2015, 18:43
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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or let some dust into it, stops mine working like a treat
However the data is recoverable if someone wants to do so.
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Old 27.02.2015, 18:47
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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As for the disks, there's always DBAN:
http://www.dban.org/download

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darik%27s_Boot_and_Nuke


Be prepared, though, to wait a long time for large disks.
Old disks are likely die under the process.
so if one were to run this program, would that wipe all information from the computer? or do I have to take the advice of other people in this thread and smash my hard drive with a sledgehammer?
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Old 27.02.2015, 19:29
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

I'd think that tossing the platters into a raging fire in the fireplace to bake for a few hours would be a fairly good way to completely destroy the information on them. Plus, a properly hot fire is good at cleaning the fireplace and chimney of soot and unburnt carbon residue.

The curie temperature of iron is about 750 C (the temperature at which point the magnetism of a ferromagnetic material is completely disrupted), which is below the peak temperature in wood burning fires (900-1000 C). Note that I write platters - e.g. throwing the whole HD case into the fire might or might not be effective.

If you buy a few charcoal bricks and build a small furnace inside your fireplace, slot the platters in there and just let it burn to ashes, you should be pretty much good to go.

The sledgehammer approach can also be effective, but not necessarily because it would destroy the HD casing or bend the platters. Hard impacts can induce magnetism in ferromagnetic materials and I'd expect this magnetism to overwrite the existing information (or make it unreadable).
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Old 27.02.2015, 19:59
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

If anybody actually bothered to read all the tosh on my hard drive their brain would probably self destruct - and serves them right for being so nosey.

Come on, I never even read it myself.

There wasn't much porn in the days of the Intel 8086 either.
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Old 27.02.2015, 20:30
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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so if one were to run this program, would that wipe all information from the computer? or do I have to take the advice of other people in this thread and smash my hard drive with a sledgehammer?
If it's a pure hard-drive ("rotating rust"), DBAN should be enough (unless your adversaries are from a nation-state and with almost unlimited resources - and even then it's not quite clear how much of the previous information can actually be recovered once a disk has been written over once.)

It's important to purge the whole disk, from the first to the last byte by either writing a random series of bytes on it or just fill it with zeros.
DBAN allows that.

SSDs are a different kind of animal:

http://www.krollontrack.com/publicat...tySSDvsHDD.pdf
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Old 28.03.2016, 00:48
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

Recently was confronted with this problem too. PC was too old to fire up, so couldn't erase old data and wouldn't even know how to be sure it s all erased.


So I took the HD out, brought the casing and rest to the local trash recycling site to dispose it for free there in a container.


I now need to destroy the HD. I would punch a hole in it's casing and poor some nail varnish remover in it, let it soak for a few days in water after that and that would do the job... Seems not the case if I read the above?!
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Old 28.03.2016, 02:30
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

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Recently was confronted with this problem too. PC was too old to fire up, so couldn't erase old data and wouldn't even know how to be sure it s all erased.


So I took the HD out, brought the casing and rest to the local trash recycling site to dispose it for free there in a container.


I now need to destroy the HD. I would punch a hole in it's casing and poor some nail varnish remover in it, let it soak for a few days in water after that and that would do the job... Seems not the case if I read the above?!
dismantle it, take the disc out and destroy it mechanically (make holes in it) and then burn it. you can also throw the remains in a public trash instead of your private one if you have spies going through your trash.
Another option is to put the disk under the carpet and forget about it.
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Old 28.03.2016, 10:39
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

If you are simply trying to keep honest people honest, then it shouldn't take much to protect your data - attach it to another computer and run a disk wipe program, or physically damage almost any part of the drive - curiosity seekers won't bother repairing it.

If you have more serious concerns, there are various options. If I were particularly worried about a single drive I'd probably take it apart and sand the platters down to the aluminum. But even if you just bend or otherwise damage the platters a bit, data recovery becomes rather hard.

Standard drive destruction techniques tend to be faster but require heavy equipment. If you have enough drives it is worth finding an industrial shredder.
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Old 28.03.2016, 10:52
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

If you drill a hole through the disk drive it will not be usable. The CIA might be able to read the data with some very fancy hardware, but for all normal people, including Snowden, it's not readable.
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Old 28.03.2016, 12:34
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

Maybe try here: http://www.revamp-it.ch/index.php/en/
Otherwise for a good how to: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computi...-old-computer/
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Old 28.03.2016, 14:29
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

wipe and physical destruction will be fine for anyone except snowden who may have secrets that is worth spending a lot of time and money on recovering.

a simpler way would be to make sure all data is encrypted in the first place then even a fully intact hard disk is no use to anyone without the key.

should be standard operating procedure given difficulties with wiping SSDs and the sheer amount of time to wipe large capacity drives.
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Old 28.03.2016, 21:54
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Re: What to do with old computers in Switzerland?

Thanks for the replies guys, appreciated.


The computer(s) were used for running legit live trading programs with various brokers etc... so no snowden stuff, but I'd rather don't want associated activities be up for grabs to just anyone when dumping an old pc in a recycling container.


Cheers again.
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