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Old 11-08-2011, 10:38 PM   #1
ela
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PC tower question


I have a Dell pc tower that's several years old, been in storage, and I want to either dispose of it or donate it.

But I first want to remove whatever component inside stores all the info.

If I remove the outside panel, what do I look for inside and how do I remove it?

Is this something anyone can do - or does it require some special expertise/tools?

No idea, but just want to be sure nothing remains in it that would contain personal data.

Thanks.

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Old 11-08-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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If you don't want to take it apart, you can just "nuke" the hard drive (erased to DOD standards).
http://download.cnet.com/Darik-s-Boo...-10151762.html

The computer could then have an OS reloaded and be used again, like you were never there.

If you desire to toss it (recycle it, contains mercury), you can just remove the hard drive and get rid of the rest. The hard drive will be a rectangular box, mounted near the front of the PC. It's either screwed in, or sometimes manufacturers use little clips. Unplug any wires from it and remove it. This is what contains all of the data saved on the computer. Without one of these, the rest of the computer is useless, so if you want to donate it, the first option is better.


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Old 11-08-2011, 11:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
If you don't want to take it apart, you can just "nuke" the hard drive (erased to DOD standards).
http://download.cnet.com/Darik-s-Boo...-10151762.html

The computer could then have an OS reloaded and be used again, like you were never there.

If you desire to toss it (recycle it, contains mercury), you can just remove the hard drive and get rid of the rest. The hard drive will be a rectangular box, mounted near the front of the PC. It's either screwed in, or sometimes manufacturers use little clips. Unplug any wires from it and remove it. This is what contains all of the data saved on the computer. Without one of these, the rest of the computer is useless, so if you want to donate it, the first option is better.
Appreciate your reply.

Could you elaborate a bit more . . .

Option 1 won't work because it's just the tower, nothing else, no connections, nothing - so no way to download the shredder.

So I'll have to remove the hard drive.

Now . . . there's no danger in doing this, is there? (you mentioned mercury)

And once I've removed the hard drive - what do I do with that?

Thank you!
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:10 PM   #4
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Almost all electronic circuitry contains mercury and other metals that should not be tossed in the garbage dump. As long as you have the computer unplugged, there should be no danger (note: if it was plugged in recently you don't want to go opening up the power supply. Actually, you never should go opening up the power supply).

Now that you have the hard drive out, go put it in a drawer for all eternity. You can't erase it unless you hook it up to something, or possibly put it on a huge magnet.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
Almost all electronic circuitry contains mercury and other metals that should not be tossed in the garbage dump. As long as you have the computer unplugged, there should be no danger (note: if it was plugged in recently you don't want to go opening up the power supply. Actually, you never should go opening up the power supply).
No problem there, it has not been plugged in or used in about 3 or so years.

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Now that you have the hard drive out, go put it in a drawer for all eternity. You can't erase it unless you hook it up to something, or possibly put it on a huge magnet.
Really? Yikes.

Well, does anyone ever take those hard drives and just toss them in a dumpster or something?

Or in this day and age do people actually go looking through trash for stuff like that?
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:09 AM   #6
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PC tower question


Yes, people will steal from a HD found in the dumpster. Recycle it.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:49 PM   #7
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If you can remove it, you can also open it. Smash the disks inside it with a hammer. I've seen and had them apart but have no idea of any possible mercury danger. Wear gloves and goggles.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:56 PM   #8
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If you take out the hard drive you can get an adapter for it from any competent computer store for a bout $12.00. It will let you hook it up to another computer then you can download any info on it or just wipe the disk and re-use it.
The adapter is USB to IDE or Sata.

Andy.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:09 AM   #9
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PC tower question


Thank you all for your feedback on this!
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:09 AM   #10
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We've had hard drives that we wanted to destroy -
they failed.
We removed them - removed the "platters"/disks -
melted the disks with a torch.
That's the only way you can insure that info/data cannot be
retrieved off of the disk.
Yes - they have "electron microscopes"!
Extreme measure - effective!!

RF
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:58 AM   #11
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PC tower question


There's always the option of re-using the Hard drive in your new PC for extra storage if you need it. With the prices of Hard drives spiking these past few months, it wouldn't be a bad idea.
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:06 AM   #12
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Depending on how many years old, it might not even be worth trying to re-use it. A few years ago an 80 Gb drive was big, but today you can buy 1000 Gb for a little over $100.

Dell computers are great for working on. After you open the case, look for green plastic. Dell uses green plastic for parts you can pull out. The drive will be attached to two green plastic rails with dog ears that extend past it. Squeeze the dog ears together and pull the drive out.

Opening a drive usually requires a Torx bit. Usually it's pretty small. Take the drive to ACE hardware and find the right bit, open it, and usually the same Torx bit will remove all the screws inside. Use the platters for a windchime. Or coasters. Or bend them & scrape the surfaces.

Or just hit the thing with a big hammer until the bits inside fall out.

A guy made the local news here recently for finding a harddrive in a thrift shop with medical records stored on it. Yes, some people make a hobby of finding harddrives and looking through the data that's on them.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:26 AM   #13
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"pyper"
Good advice!
"Acetylene Torch" ends those problems!!
No data recovery - ever!!!

RF
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossfingal View Post
"pyper"
Good advice!
"Acetylene Torch" ends those problems!!
No data recovery - ever!!!

RF
I'm not exactly sure of all the metals and chemicals inside a hardrive but I don't think I'd want to breathe the fumes from a burning one.

A few good whacks with a heavy hammer should shatter the platters and render the data irretrievable by anyone other than NSA types.
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:05 PM   #15
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"Ironlight"

I agree!
However, do you want the data to be completely, "irretrievable" - or, somewhat? (to some degree or another).
I was just addressing, making it relatively, impossible to retrieve -
OK: sorry - impossible!
RF

(I'm not the one that came up with this idea!)

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