Friday, February 17, 2012

Purge of the Day: Busted Laptop

It's so busted that it's going to recycling.  No one would want it, even for free. I'll just leave it at that. We should have gotten rid of it a long time ago, but we felt guilty. That should be a flashing red light at this point. If it lives here because we feel bad about it, it has to go!


Snarky said...

Question for you-- 1) Where do you recycle this? I keep looking for e-waste events to get rid of old laptops and old cell phones but 2) how do you wipe your personal info off of it? I'm so afraid someone will steal everything!

mm said...

Heya! In Los Angeles, you can take your e-waste to one of the facilities listed here:
I had the same concerns about our computer and let Jonathan handle it. (Shifty eyes, shifty eyes...) He said he'd comment on what to do. Let's eagerly wait for his comment!

JR said...

Sorry to keep you waiting, but now, in response to question 2, I follow a three-step process that in no way guarantees your personal information will be safe, but that makes me feel pretty safe. First, I delete all of the files. I think this step is unnecessary but deleting the files feels both liberating and safer.

Second, I reinstall the operating system. This effectively starts the computer over from scratch. It is my entirely uninformed understanding that this will make files and personal information impossible to find for anyone of normal hacking skills or below (which I think includes the vast majority of us). For CIA forensics experts or that gal with the funky tattoo, that amazing idea you had for a TV show in 10th grade and wrote eleven pages of can still probably be accessed.

Third, we took it to the e-waste facility, where it's my understanding that it will be destroyed. As far as I know, the only way to absolutely ensure no one will be able to access anything off your old computer is to smash the hard drive to bits with a hammer (or similar blunt object), and then maybe dispose of the tiny shards in separate places. I may be overly trusting, but after driving through the recycling facility, where they'll also except dirty motor oil and other hazardous materials, I think my secrets are safe.

Snarky said...

This is all good to know, thanks guys! My plan was to smash it all with a hammer, but when faced with the task, I was suddenly convinced it would explode or all the shards would impale me. I've also been told that for a smartphone, you should just pull out the chip and bend it. Thanks again!!