Wipe it clean, or else!

  TOPCAT® 12:06 14 Aug 2006

So, you've bought a new PC and decide to let your old one go for recycling. Bad mistake if you haven't made absolutely sure its hard-drive is wiped clean of all your personal data.

Tonight at 1930 BST, BBC One shows the "Real Story" of how many of these recycled PCs find their way to Nigeria and there, masses of sensitive financial data is gathered from these hard-drives. The programme will be an eye-opener for many unfortunate people, many of whom did not expect their machines to find their way to Nigeria. It could turn out to be an expensive exercise for them too. TC.

  Chris-347369 12:37 14 Aug 2006

Personally before I get rid of an old PC I open up the case, remove the hard drive and then take it on a date with Mr Hammer.

But then I know how to remove the hard drive where many people do not!

  silverous 16:56 14 Aug 2006

Wait for the responses to this thread saying "but there's nothing worth having on most home users PCs...a normal format will do".

With the ease of doing a proper job of wiping it ... why not... unless you have no personal data on it whatsoever.

  SG Atlantis® 17:31 14 Aug 2006

Well I'm one of them silverous.

Scaremongering makes for TV shows.

Format and reinstall of the OS, followed by a good defrag.

I bet these people are just manually deleting stuff from the computer or some nonsense like that.

  bremner 17:50 14 Aug 2006

As far as recovery is concerned manually deleted material is slightly simpler to recover than that which has been subject to a format but both are easy.

With the amount of shredder/eraser/nukeem freebies out there it is simple to safely dispose of your old data.

  TOPCAT® 18:24 14 Aug 2006

I would hardly call this scaremongering, SG Atlantis®. TC.

click here

  SG Atlantis® 18:29 14 Aug 2006

"The information can be found on a PC's hard disk, which is easy to access if the drive is not wiped before sending.

Anti-fraud expert Owen Roberts said simply deleting files was not enough.

Users should instead use a programme to wipe their hard drive before they sell or give away their PC, a process which over-writes what is already contained on the drive."

End Quote.


So format it and re install, followed by a defrag. Or destructive recovery on systems that come preinstalled, again followed by a defrag.

  J B 20:35 14 Aug 2006

You beat me to it. Program was very interesting don't you think. It is not scaremongering far from it, just good straight forward advice. After all some of the people in the program were well edcuated, however it seems that local councils need to up their game. I for one will take my computer to be recycled when it comes time to do so with the hard drive completely clean I can assure you. J.B.

  bremner 21:17 14 Aug 2006

Why on earth do you think that format, re install and defrag will remove sensitive data - you may be lucky enough to over write it - but more likely you will not.

  SG Atlantis® 21:49 14 Aug 2006

I ain't had a problem yet...

  wolfie3000 00:59 15 Aug 2006

I find that what Pyroxide said is good advise,

Smashing the hard drive to oblivion is the best way to keep sensitive data out of others hands.

My personal favourite is a drill and a ruddey big drill bit,

Or anything that smashes the hard drive to bits.

But always remember safety first, wear proper eye protection and if need be thick gloves.

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