What do you do with your old computers?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Toto'sDad, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Last time I got rid of my wife's and my computer, I pulled the hard drives out, and smashed them with a hammer (a lot). I have a couple of computers that we replaced some time ago, that my wife keeps impinging on my procrastination and wants me to do something with. They are old computers and probably not even usable since they had Windows Vista installed, which the entire web hated but worked just fine for us. In fact Windows 10 didn't seem all that much of an improvement.

    I read that you can use a program called DBAN to remove everything on the drives. Anyone have any experience with that? Also, Microsoft says just reinstalling the operating system will completely remove all of the files. However I read that reinstalling the operating system does not remove all of the old files COMPLETELY. Since we have passwords, and encrypted off shore accounts worth as much as twenty three dollars and seventy nine cents on them, I want to be sure no one raids them.

    I intend to trundle them off to Goodwill once I decide what to do with the hard drives. Or alternatively, I can just beat them to a pulp, and send them off with the trash.
     
  2. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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  3. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Smashing the hard drives with a hammer is the most effective and simplest way...
    DBAN, Killdisk, etc all take time to overwrite every sector on the hard drive multiple times.
    It also takes time to reinstall the operating system and that is not as effective at destroying your data.

    After removing and destroying the drives, I generally take my old computers to the recycle center.
    Make sure they can deal with e-waste properly. It is actually illegal here for e-waste to go to a landfill.

    May seem wasteful, but I generally buy used Enterprise Dell Optiplex mini tower machines.
    They are built like a tank and last for years. I have been doing this for more than 20 years.
    I generally get about 5 years out of them before I upgrade and I have never paid more than $200.

    Current machine I am on right now is a Dell Optiplex 9020.
    It has 16Gb of RAM, Intel i7 processor, two 500GB SSDs from the previous machine and a hand me down Nvidia graphics card from my son.
    It is more than capable of doing everything I need, including some gaming.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  4. Informal

    Informal Tele-Afflicted

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    When I switched over to newer SSD's, I just cut the old ones a few times with a torch.
     
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  5. Old Plank

    Old Plank Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Got a few laptops to give to a friend for parts who has a repair/refurbish etc. business, I was going to do the hard drive smash method but will look into the DBAN option, that's good to know thanks!
     
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  6. Zoso420

    Zoso420 Tele-Meister

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    Just drill a couple holes in the hard drive. I like turning old PCs into media servers though
     
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  7. esseff

    esseff Tele-Afflicted

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    I've wiped them with multiple DoD grade passes and given them away to friend's kids who needed them for basic surfing or documents. I don't like anything going to landfill if it's still got some use.
     
  8. CCK1

    CCK1 Tele-Holic

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    Just be aware that DBAN, (Darik's Boot And Nuke) takes a pretty good while to run, depending on how many overwrites you want, it can take several hours.
    I know it is not the environmentally friendly thing to do, but the last 2-3 desktops I got rid of, I removed the hard drive, drilled a 1/4" hole in it where I know it went through the platter, then put computer, drive and all into a 45 gallon trash bag with other household trash and took 'em to the curb for the trash man to pick up.
     
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  9. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    I've only destroyed a hard drive when it's failed and I haven't been able to wipe it with software. If you're going to donate, then software is the way to go.

    I haven't used the one you mention TD, but there is plenty of free software out there that will do the job. Essentially what they do is overwrite every bit of the disc so none of the original data remains.

    The last time I did a disc, it was something like 3 overwrite passes to make the disc wiped to CIA standards. It takes time, but hey it's not a machine you're waiting to use again.
     
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  10. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Actually, after reading what I wrote about sending them off in the trash, I immediately decided against that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  11. dented

    dented Doctor of Teleocity

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    I still have all from the early 90s except one. I wiped that clean and gave it to my last girlfriend. It was a Sony Vaio Notebook. But I ever since I bailed on her I wonder if there is anything they can get off of there. So I change all my passwords frequently.

    edit: They all work and are useful in different parts of the house.
     
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  12. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    The people who take mine say they get recycled…:(

    [​IMG]
     
  13. oldunc

    oldunc Tele-Afflicted

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    I remember hearing of someone who was using old motherboards (if that's the right term) as roofing. There's a sculpture (actually a sphere, best I remember) in a plaza in Palo Alto covered with old hard drives; kind of neat.
     
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  14. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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  15. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I open up the HDs, save the magnets (useful) and sledge-hammer the platters. Recycle the hulk.
     
  16. Brad Pittiful

    Brad Pittiful Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    i remove the hard drive and take the rest of it to a electronics recycle day in my town
     
  17. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    check to see if you have an e-waste program. we do a few times per year. set an appt. drop off the gear and go home.

    play music!
     
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  18. GeneB

    GeneB Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    My last PC I took out the hard drive and backed over it with my car. Tossed the pieces out in a trash bag and the rest went to the recycle bin. Now I only use chromebooks and store all my data on USB sticks and the Google cloud.
     
  19. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Retired IT guy here. You're spot-on regarding used Optiplex machines. Just got a 9020 SFF refurb myself. Used to build my own PCs, but it became too much of a hassle, and no real savings in doing so. Started buying refurbs, never turned back.

    Oh, yeah - - regarding destruction, a few whacks to the drives from a sledge hammer is quite sufficient. The rest goes into the unsorted garbage. Even the schools around here don't want old PCs anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  20. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I use mine until they don't work any more, then store them in my garage for several years. If one makes it past that, I think about destroying its hard drive a few months more, before without further action I take it to the dump, where they have you put it in the pile with the teevees. I think there are easier ways for cybercrooks to hack me than rummaging around at the dump.



    Disclaimer: in case anyone can't tell, where computers are concerned I am a complete idiot.
     
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