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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Case on January 20, 2018, 03:34:40 PM

Title: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Case on January 20, 2018, 03:34:40 PM
I have a handfull of old computers that i have resisted getting rid of because of concern about having personal infromation stolen.  What’s the easiest way to get rid of this shit? 
My plan is to drill a hole in the hard drives, then try to figure out some sort of environmentally friendly disposal.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Khaetra on January 20, 2018, 03:44:09 PM
Take out the drives and drill them (a couple times) then dispose.  That's why I did with my old gear.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Mr. Green on January 20, 2018, 04:22:06 PM
Yank hard drives. Give the rest to Best Buy (electronics recycling).

I personally like taking the covers off the drives and beating the platters with a hammer. Not that anyone would go to the trouble but a platter with a hole in it can still have data read off the parts that aren't holey. A warped platter that won't even spin is a paperweight.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: BlueMR2 on January 20, 2018, 04:59:41 PM
I use either CBL Disk Shredder or DBAN software, depending on the age/drive support on the system, to erase the drives.  Then if it likely didn't have anything very interesting, it can go to a recycler.  If it had critical data I take it to the next paranoid level and remove the platters, grinding, cutting, and bending them up if they're metal.  If ceramic I wrap in a paper towel and give them a slight bend with pliers and they explode (hence the paper towel, otherwise you get jagged ceramic shards everywhere) and the whole thing gets dumped into the trash.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: misshathaway on January 21, 2018, 07:19:41 AM
My town DPW has a recycle program for $10 each and daytime drop-off hours. Maybe yours does too. That was the easy part.

I had 4 or 5 old Macs going back to a Mac Iici. The IIci actually started up and lived for about a day. The rest were dead. It absolutely killed me but I yanked out the hard drives and did the hammer on the drives. I did save some of the cards for possible antique selling on ebay.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: BTDretire on January 21, 2018, 08:59:48 AM
 Ask Hillary.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Brother Esau on January 21, 2018, 09:26:49 AM
Ask Hillary.

HaHa
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Roger D on January 21, 2018, 10:00:43 AM
I personally like taking the covers off the drives and beating the platters with a hammer.
Same. Plus you get to see how disks work, and you can salvage the insanely-strong magnets to play with.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Syonyk on January 21, 2018, 06:14:01 PM
DBAN (Dan's Boot and Nuke).  Burn the CD, and boot your other system from it.  Let it wipe the drives.

Then remove the hard drive, recycle the rest, and... dunno, I usually disassemble the hard drive for the magnets.  So useful.

How old are the computers?  Someone here might be interested in one or more...
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: the_fella on January 21, 2018, 08:35:54 PM
DBAN 35 passes. Then encrypt the drive and destroy the key.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Syonyk on January 21, 2018, 09:11:31 PM
DBAN 35 passes. Then encrypt the drive and destroy the key.

That's... an interesting approach.  Why would encrypting a wiped drive change much?  It won't overwrite all the data again.

And for anything that requires more than a few passes, I'd just melt the drive.  Take a cutting torch to the platters.

I generally just do a single pass zero on random storage drives of mine I'm selling.  If it's been a core OS drive for a desktop of mine (instead of just a random server or something), I don't sell the drive at all.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: patrickza on January 22, 2018, 04:00:27 AM
I always open the drives and take the neodymium magnets out. They are super powerful and useful for so many things. I believe the aluminium (yes it is spelt like that damn autocorrect!) in the drives has value if taken to a recycler.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: chemistk on January 22, 2018, 05:56:07 AM
Just jumping in here to say it's really cathartic to smash a hard drive.

I've taken more than a few hard drives to a work bench and gone to town on them with various tools.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: Eric on January 22, 2018, 10:18:36 AM
Just jumping in here to say it's really cathartic to smash a hard drive.

I've taken more than a few hard drives to a work bench and gone to town on them with various tools.

Office Space style:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9wsjroVlu8

The only way to go.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: dycker1978 on January 22, 2018, 10:24:06 AM
I used to work for the national police service here.  We would take the HDD out, put them in a box, and when we had enough take them to a metal shop and through them in the liquid molten metal.  That was fun,

But for my personal stuff, I just drill the drives a couple of times and send it to the recycler.
Title: Re: Easiest way to securely dispose of old computers
Post by: brute on January 22, 2018, 10:27:06 AM
I personally like taking the covers off the drives and beating the platters with a hammer.
Same. Plus you get to see how disks work, and you can salvage the insanely-strong magnets to play with.

I usually take those magnets plus the fans in the case and turn them into stir plates for homebrewing. I can usually get $50 for one.