MCC Daily Tribune Archive

Recycling your Computer 

If you're recycling your computer, or laptop, there's one significant problem you may have ignored: If you don't wipe them clear of data, you could become a victim of identity theft. Merely deleting files using normal system tools won't really do the trick --- you need to do a much deeper cleaning. Here's how to do it.

While many recyclers and donation programs offer to wipe your computer’s hard drive for you, we recommend erasing all personal data yourself for safety reasons. Don’t forget to backup <>  everything you need first!

Some beginners fall into the trap of thinking that simply deleting personal files will do the trick. This makes your data harder to find, but doesn’t erase it entirely. An experienced programmer can still retrieve it easily. We recommend fully overwriting your hard drive, preferably multiple times, and then re-installing your operating system from scratch if you need to (for instance, if you’re donating the computer). The other alternative is to physically smashing your hard drive to bits this may be more satisfying.

When it comes to drive-rewriting programs, the U.S. Department of Defense guidelines serve as the market standard. MCC has used the software called WipeDrive. It’s the power tool of disk overwrite utilities. Not only does it conform to DOD standards, but its clients actually include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as the U.S. Army and Navy. The cost of this software is currently on sale for $29.95.

Donna Pogroszewski
Communications and Network Services