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Posts Tagged ‘passwords’

Destroy a Hard Drive – the Cheap and Easy Method

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

A hard drive is a small box inside of computer equipment that may contain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, social security numbers, etc. If you are upgrading to a new computer (desktop computer, laptop, office copier, etc.) always remove and destroy the hard drive before selling, donating, or recycling any computer equipment! Failure to destroy the hard drive before giving the computer away could result in sensitive information ending up in the hands of the new owner, who will then be able to copy old files and go through your personal information stored there.

There are many options available if you are looking to dispose of an old hard drive. Some professional destruction methods include:

  • Shredding it using a local shredding company
  • Taking it to a computer recycling company
  • Mailing it to a hard drive destruction specialist
  • Bringing it in to a local computer shop that will dispose of it

These methods are ideal, but they usually cost money. Professional destruction of a hard drive could cost $70 or more in some areas! So what is a low cost method to dispose of the hard drive and keep your personal data safe if you are low on funds? Considering you have all the right tools, this method won’t cost you a dime and is a very secure way to get rid of a hard drive while keeping your data secure.

Step 1: Wipe it! Wiping a hard drive in essence destroys the data by writing over it with random characters. There are many free utilities to help, a good one is Active@ KillDisk. You can download the free utility from their website, click: Active@ KillDisk. This free software overwrites all of the data on your old hard drive with random characters and WILL DESTROY ALL OF YOUR DATA! Be sure you have performed a complete backup and have transferred the data from your old hard drive to your new system before wiping it.

Step 2: Remove it! Physically remove the hard drive from the system. This is usually the easy part, you’ll just need a screwdriver and a little patience. Keep in mind that you will still be able to sell or donate the old computer without a hard drive missing, just be sure to let the new owners know in advance that they will need a new hard drive and operating system.

Step 3: Drill it! If you plan on using the old hard drive again, skip this step. Otherwise it’s best to physically destroy the old hard drive just to be 100% certain that the old data is completely destroyed. This step is not only fun, depending on how much personal data you had on the old drive it can also help you sleep better at night.

Wearing protective goggles, gloves, and a dust mask for your mouth and nose take a drill and a metal drill bit to the drive. You’ll want to drill through the drive completely from one side to the other, and you’ll want to do this multiple times. Two important areas for you to drill through are the platters and the controller board. See examples in the below images.

All done!


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Customer Service, the On Site Computer Repair Advantage

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Many years ago when a computer crashed, started running slowly, caught a virus, or lost data, the only recourse you had was to unplug your computer and “take it down to the shop” for repair. Sure, on-site computer repair has been around for some time, but in those days it was extremely expensive for someone come out to your home or business to look over your computer systems. The level of experience necessary for a computer repair technician to perform on-site support is high, and as a result that advanced level of support was only available to companies with large budgets. Each on-site technical worker must be an expert to survive the cutting-edge rigors of working with multiple hardware and software configurations each day. High hourly rates for computer experts allowed physically established computer repair stores to thrive for many years. They could hire one expert, and then employ a large group of less experienced staff for cheap who would work with the expert to learn how to fix the computers that came into the store.

Unfortunately, low prices did not always equate to convenience. The disadvantages to you are high when your only option is to drop a broken computer off somewhere down the road. Forced to crawl around under a desk unplugging cables, hoping that you can remember the correct sequence of cables to plug back in you finally get your computer back is no fun. If you make it past that step without being electrocuted, the next task is to haul the dusty computer and maybe monitor or other accessories out into the heat, rain, wind, or whatever weather we were having that day. Finally, the worst part, handing over all of your sensitive information to the stranger at the counter of the computer repair shop. Do you know the owner or person working at the counter? Great, but do you also know the other people working in the back room? Do they really even care about you or your data? Is your information safe? Just what ARE they doing back there with your stuff after you leave? Will they fix this problem only for you to discover more computer issues once you hook everything back up?

Things have changed considerably over the past five years, all for the better. These days, it’s more affordable for you to have your computer systems serviced on-site in your home or business. The hourly rate for experienced computer repair technicians has come down considerably, changing the playing field between on-site and in-store support companies. What used to be the biggest advantage for the brick and mortar computer store, physical presence, has actually turned into it’s greatest liability. The large operating costs of leasing a physical storefront have made it impossible for old style computer repair firms to compete. As a result of increased operating costs, lease, electricity and other limiting factors, physical computer repair shops are forced to charge more for computer repair services just to cover unnecessary overhead. Efficient on-site computer repair firms avoid these overheads, operating remotely, covering larger areas, and are able to pass the savings on directly to you, the customer. As a result of lower prices, more and more people are realizing the immense advantages to on-site repair, which go far beyond the ability to save money.

A client of ours recently left us a testimonial that sums up the experience quite nicely, “I liked your service, because right away I felt like my PC technician was a friend. He explained everything to me and answered all of my questions.” That is the level of customer service that a physical computer repair shop cannot match. Beyond simply fixing the problem, a technician in your home or business is a real person that is available to answer questions, explain to you what is wrong, and work with you – not just to fix one problem, but several problems all on the same visit. When your original problem is fixed, you’ll probably have time to fix three or four more problems that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought about had your computer been in a back room somewhere else. When you encounter a preventable problem, such as a computer virus, a live person there to assist you can not only help you remove it, they can offer expert training and advice on ways to protect yourself in the future. 95% of computer issues most people have can be fixed right there, on-site. In the rare instance that a more time-consuming repair is necessary, the technician already has everything taken apart for you and can take the necessary parts to a central repair facility for you, bringing back the repaired parts once complete. All the while, freeing up your time and allowing you to work on other things. More importantly, your ability to interact face to face with your computer repair technician gives you the advantage of knowing exactly WHO is working on your computer and whether or not you should trust them with your important pictures, business accounting information, emails and passwords.

Everyone likes to save money, and given the opportunity, 9 out of 10 will go with the less expensive option. It’s nice that the tables have turned to favor the customer, making it possible for everyone to experience better computer repair service without extra work or hassles, and at prices those large computer stores just can’t beat.


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