Returned Ex' Hard Drive.

  Miros 08:57 31 Oct 2006

I bought a External hard Drive from PCW and had to return it within 17 days as it would no longer operate.
I was assured that the manufactures Packard Bell to who it would be returned would not attempt to repair it, but scrap it instead!

My concern is that there is a lot of personal information on this hard disk, or should be as I had used it to do a backup. I can't help be be concerned about the implications this could have if this hard drive were to get into the wrong hands.

Has anyone had a similar experience, and if so can they offer any advice, does anyone who works in the business know and can they confirm the above scrapping action.

I would welcome any advice or comments regards Miros.

  bremner 09:14 31 Oct 2006

I can not speak specifically in respect of Packard Bell - however many hard drive manufacturers sell on their defective drives to companies who specialise in the repair and subsequent reselling of the drives.

Once repaired the drives are subject to "industrial strength" wiping.

I was recently given a tour of one such companies premises and saw at first hand the process.

  Miros 09:57 31 Oct 2006

'Once repaired the drives are subject to "industrial strength" wiping.'

Thanks for that it makes me feel more at ease.
Whilst I'm a Mister Nobody, it makes sense that they would be leaving them selves wide open to a negligence charge with say a Mister Bigshot! should they allow the enclosed information out into the public domain.Thank you Bremner.

  HondaMan 10:35 31 Oct 2006

on BBC watchdog a few weeks ago, there was quite an in depth article about such drives being shipped in bulk to third-world countries where the raw materials, including the platters, are recovered and recycled. The discs can be bought for a few pounds each and data can be recovered. Watchdog did this and contacted the previous owners of the discs in question with knowledge of a frightening amount of information about them.

The only safe way to wipe information is to use a military strength removal tool, or write it off to experience and use what I do - a 4lb lump hammer!

  Miros 11:14 31 Oct 2006

Gee thanks that's very reassuring so after only two weeks of use I'm supposed to put the lump hammer on it because it's kaput? I would have been better of donating my money direct to Packard Bells already considerable fortunes, then at least I would not have had my security compromised.

This is an External Hard Drive we are talking about not a defunct PC, I didn't see the watchdog programme in question but I imagine they were referring to PC's which had been scraped and
were being salvaged for spare whatever.

I think that and I'm hoping that a company of Packard Bells standing and integrity would perhaps behave as bremner suggests above.

  Miros 11:24 31 Oct 2006

Would it be worth the while of Packard Bell spending time recovering the item to reissue? I imagine the component parts are buttons as against labour costs..

I am by the way a pensioner so while the cost to P' Bell maybe infinitesimal to me it's certainly not peanuts to be tossed away, or written off.

  spuds 11:31 31 Oct 2006

Miros-- There are a couple of points that I would like to raise.

(1)A failed hard-drive in 17 days,did PCWorld do a straight swap-over, and did they not mention the implications of stored data.

(2)Once the hard-drive is out of your hands and possibly PC World's hands, where will it end. In a scrap bin perhaps, for either physical destruction or recycling to a third world country. The was a documentary on television recently, which showed how some computer components from the UK end up in places like Nigeria and India. Wasn't pleasant viewing, especially the part, when the reporter purchased straight off the shelf a number of hard-drives, that he was able to obtain and retrieve all the information from them. Back in the UK, the previous owners were absolutely alarmed and shocked, as to the way their 'recycled' hard-drives had ended up.

Regarding completely wiping a hard-drive of information, there is only one sure way = total destruction, possibly in a furnace. Industrial wiping is not 100%. In most cases, the ordinary person in the street's hard-drive, holds very little rewarding information for the professional villain. Due to costs and process limitations of industrial hard-drive cleaning, not many recycling companies always use this method.

There are a number of software packages out there, like Erasure or Wincleaner Destroy-it!. In the case of the latter program, this states that it meets and exceeds Data Destruction Standards set by the U.S Dept of Defense (U.S. Standard, DoD 5220.22-M). But destruction by furnace or possibly a scrap iron shredding machine, would possibly be more convincing.

  Miros 11:54 31 Oct 2006

I was offered a swap over, same manufacturer but a lesser speck which actually cost £10 more at no extra charge, I declined. Alternative manufactures offering same speck were only offered if I agreed to pay the extra, I declined.

I was told by the manager that all PCW outlets charge the same prices throughout, I disagreed, I bought my Ex.H.D in Reading, and returned the duff one to Stockport only 17 days after purchase,
they were charging as I said £10 extra for a lesser speck. They did not have my model available.

Quite frankly they had me over a barrel. I could have had the info on the hard drive recovered at a quoted cost of about £100! by a firm of specialist, I declined, I have already mentioned my financial status above. All in all I'm very disappointed with the whole business.

An estimate of £100 could end up, you tell me.

  Chris the Ancient 11:57 31 Oct 2006

I'm with you in the use of such things as Erasure etc. But... supposing the drive is so defunct that you can't run them?

  HondaMan 12:25 31 Oct 2006

Then you are back to my 4lb lump hammer!

Spuds makes exactly the same point as me. Once the HDD is out of your possession, whether its in a computer or not, you have absolutely NO control over what happens to it, where it goes or who may come into possession of it nor over what they may do with anything - including data - which may be recovered!

  Miros 12:32 31 Oct 2006

It was defunct, I couldn't run it. PCW couldn't run it. Are you saying I should just put a lump hammer to it, and kiss my money good bye?
You may get your money easy, I had to work hard for mine and I never knowingly waste money.

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