Tech Lolz: Getting Rid of Your Old PC - Should You Kill It With an AK-47?
Hey there everyone! Remember those times when your old PC started to malfunction and you couldn't get your work done? It got slower and slower, and then there was some hardware component failure and then you decided to finally make an upgrade and buy a new one. But what do you do with your old PC now? How do you get revenge on it, for all the times when it drove you mad?
This episode of Tech Lolz will share "critical information" on how to get back at your old PC, Harry Potter spells as well as Pamela Anderson references. Woohooo!
The Ghost of the HDD Past
We found this legit question from Shirley H.: Getting rid of old computer; what should I do before proceeding?.
We took it upon ourselves to bring an important aspect of computers to your attention - the hard disk. Most importantly, how can we dispose of them? Let's look at what Shirley H. had to say to start with:
"Hello, everyone, I had an old Windows desktop computer given to me by my son when he got his Apple and now I have upgraded to a HP laptop. My question is how do I destroy all the personal information on the old desktop, including all bank details? I got rid of the keyboard, speakers, etc., but I still have the main box that holds all the info. I am scared to throw it out, and it has been sitting in the corner of the room for nearly three years and is an eyesore. What are my options--as to what do I need to do specifically? A detailed explanation and step-by-step procedures are needed. Please help me; I would be ever so grateful. Many thanks."
I really can't say why, but the moment I read her comment, it made a connection in my mind to the "A Haunting" series on Discovery. It follows the same narrative story. For example: "We have a poltergeist. Exorcised the house and threw holy water at it, but it's still in the corner of our room for nearly three years. How do we get rid of it?". It's simple. Who you gonna call? Pam-pam Ghostbusters!
As for Shirley's Dilemma, well, it's not so simple I'm afraid. By getting rid of the speakers and keyboard, God help us all, she didn't manage to clean the information from her computer. The "main box" as she called it is the source of all evil. And as we say, "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil!"
Get Creative When Smashing the HDD.. or Not!
Now, let's take a look again at what our evil masterminds from the forums decided to share with Shirley H. regarding her issue:
"I agree with Ted de Castro. Originally, I used to run DEBAN (Derik's Boot and Nuke) to wipe the drive clean non-destructively. That used to take a looonnnggg time. Then I used to use a punch and a hammer and just wail away to damage it. Most recently, I added an AK-47 to my gun collection. Yep, you guessed it. Now I take a few old hard drives (old IDEs too small to use in external cases) with me to the outdoor range, and use them for target practice. Very satisfying." said escapepod
Now, we do not condone violence towards hardware components, however, and I emphasise however, knowing all the files that went missing during its use, as well as all the troubles it sent your way… I just look at it as sweet revenge. And under the correct circumstances (being in a supervised shooting range, bringing the correct gun that will give you that sweet, sweet pleasure), I'm sure you'll be able to enjoy that little revenge to the max.
So, my number 1 recommendation towards destroying your information from the old PC would be to rip out the hard-drive and go loco on it. And this works for any type of computer.
If you don't necessarily own a gun, well there are other ways to do so: drilling it, smashing it, throwing it, burning it, disassembling it and so on and so forth. You just need to be a bit creative. Don't just take it out and BAM! Hit it with a hammer. It's the little things that count. :)
Let's take a look at another comment from the masterminds:
What if you have a computer that someone else had and now you want only your stuff on it? Don't want to destroy hard drive now. asked iluvalvinn
No, you do not want to harm the HDD then. Lucky him!
However, you do need the previous owner's information out of your system, don't you? I guess you do. Except perhaps if the previous owner was Pamela Anderson or some other famous Playboy bunny but come on, in real life, what would be the chances of that happening?
So, let's get back. Try please to stay with me and get on with your Pamela Anderson related business just a tad later.
In this case, we need to format the system and wipe the hard drive. How? Simple. You just make a custom install of the operating system you want to use. During the installation process you will be presented with the option to wipe and format the hard drive. Do that and ta-daaa, new used hard drive.
If we were all wizards and in Hogwarts, for the connoisseurs, this would be like throwing an Obliviate! spell on the HDD. Very effective.
On a more serious note
Now, let's take the things as they are: you need to destroy the information from a hard drive. As a summary of what I have been talking about till now, you have the following two major options: either destroy the HDD altogether so that you are sure the information cannot be recovered, or format the hard drive and then use special software that automatically deletes the contents of the hard drive and writes meaningless data on top of it, to make sure that your original data cannot be recovered. You could try Eraser or Darik's Boot And Nuke.
Alright, so, in theory, you now know what to do as a next step in this dilemma. Have you ever had to destroy a hard drive and if so, how did you go about doing so? The most creative way gets a big thumbs up from us! Let us know in the comment section below.