Brian

What do you do with a retired computer?

Harvesting old hard drives  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you do with old hard drives?

    • Use for external storage
      12
    • Throw them away
      2
    • Physically destroy them
      3
    • Use software to destroy them
      1
    • Recycle
      14
    • Other - IE throw in a pond
      2


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True but sad story...I know someone who just "finished" using a notebook and while there's not a great amount of private info on it, rather than recycling it, or harvesting the components for other uses, he threw it into a pond. Don't get started on how bad that is for the now-bionic fish that live in that pond, etc.

While many people recycle their computers at BestBuy or with Dell or whatever...the drives are an important components as they hold the good stuff. Do you guys brick the drives with software? Drill holes in them? Throw them away and not care? Re-purpose the drives for external storage?

I'm just curious as to what the consensus is around here.

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If there's some sensitive data on them, I physically destroy them.

1. data cannot be recovered

2. it's fun!

Tools:

1. hammer

2. drill

3. gravity

4. any combination of 1, 2 and 3

If the drive is useful in some way, I reuse it but sadly enough hard drives are so cheap these days that only fairly recent drives are worth reusing.

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I'd like to try shooting the drives...anyone have good pictures of a drive you've shot? Preferably with a .45 or large slug?

I just can't find a local range that will let you shoot anything but paper...I know, silly rules about projectiles bouncing back and so on.

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Time and time again the best method outside of like DBAN is to just take a standard metal drillbit and drill one or two holes through the top of the drive down through the platters. the amount of money involved with recovering data from that drive would be insane... probably even outside the cost-effective budget for the CIA to secretly attain secrets from Russia or something.

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I've been known to use software to overwrite a drive with random data a few times and then fill it with zeroes when I was passing it on to someone, but otherwise when I don't need a drive (or computer) any more and it has no resale or re-use value, I take it to the tip where the council shred it (!) and recover the valuable component materials. You'd have thought it would be easier to recover the useful stuff by dismantling, but no, everything goes in the industrial shredder first - computers, TVs, anything electronic. Next time I might try one of those charities that recondition them for giving to good causes in poor communities.

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Remember to take out the head positioning magnets when you physically destroy a drive. They're good and strong :o)

Edited by discjet

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If it still works, use it.

My old laptop runs as a server with a little forum on it and shares a printer over the home network.

Another old laptop we had went to my grandfather for him to use.

I did replace the HDD, but kept the old on, just in case - still works, but bad smart data.

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For old drives that still -work- using them as secondary storage is fine.

but when they quit and need replacing. Where does one go to properly dispose of them?

(assuming any data has been erased)

I have one such old drive (36gb WD scsi from 2001).

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For old drives that still -work- using them as secondary storage is fine.

but when they quit and need replacing. Where does one go to properly dispose of them?

(assuming any data has been erased)

I have one such old drive (36gb WD scsi from 2001).

I'd just chuck them in the bin - although in the EU you're technically not allowed to and have to take them to a place that collects electronic rubbish - can be a retailer.

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I recycle whatever parts that can be recycled. The remaining parts that has no use will be sold to the junk yard.

Is there a place where we can sell the old CRT monitors? I have 2 of them and they are accumulating dust.

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I recycle whatever parts that can be recycled. The remaining parts that has no use will be sold to the junk yard.

Is there a place where we can sell the old CRT monitors? I have 2 of them and they are accumulating dust.

my CRT died a while back too. I just did a search for local electronics recycling places. Called a couple and found one that would take it off my hands for nothing.

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I selected other, as I either sell them if they are /very/ new (i.e. < 1 year old) or if older than that I normally donate them to various charities/schools. Of course that implies that I no longer have a use for them myself in some capacity. consumables like drives (yes I treat them as such, you pretty much have to with 80+ of them around here) I normally list them on e-bay just to dump them and recoup a little /anything/ that may help offset the cost of the replacement drives or even just their shipment to me.

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At one time or another I've done at least one of each of the above (No pond!) - multiple selections were not allowed. Most of the old drives here work, but unfortunately the ones that have died are the largest (160GB WD) and near largest (20GB Seagate). From 4GB on down will probably be relegated to the city cleanup along with all PII and below computers (except my PII 366 ThinkPad 570), likely with a working 14" monitor or 3.

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I'd like to try shooting the drives...anyone have good pictures of a drive you've shot? Preferably with a .45 or large slug?

oh wow... you just brought a tear to my eye. a man after my own heart? anyways. i'm guessing you are requesting .45 ACP? i can do .45 LC, but not ACP. i can also do:

7.62x51

5.56

.40

9mm

.45 LC

so... you do performance reviews then when your done, you can had the hardware off to me and i will do ballistic reviews?

Doesn't a 45 have poor penetration?

define, "poor." lol.. but yes, you are right... in a since... :/ but it does deliver observed kinetic energy to the target. it would be a great shoot...

I selected other, as I either sell them if they are /very/ new (i.e. < 1 year old) or if older than that I normally donate them to various charities/schools. Of course that implies that I no longer have a use for them myself in some capacity. consumables like drives (yes I treat them as such, you pretty much have to with 80+ of them around here) I normally list them on e-bay just to dump them and recoup a little /anything/ that may help offset the cost of the replacement drives or even just their shipment to me.

i donate CRT's.. but hard drives? almost all my old stuff goes on eBay. i just sold about 5 hard drives, all within the 160 to 250GB range. they sold like hot cakes. some of the drives i sold were seagates rocking 6 year warranties. even though the drive was like 3 years old it still had a tone of time left on the warranty. people were buying them up like they were candy. this was about, i want to say, 2 months ago. they were going for $20 to $30 + $12 for USPS priority mail shipping. the sell price varied based off capacity and length of warranty. all old hardware sells fairly well on eBay.

so, i try to push most my hardware out the door before the 5 year mark. i do have some SCSI cards, and some PCI USB 2.0 add in cards i foresee putting in the round file though.

i have an old-school 60 GB fireball in a test bed. it is a ginormous POS... whats the phrase??? it is a ginormous order of pos magnitude times the greatest pos ever? does that sound right? I was going to round file it, but Brian has inspired a different fate... :)

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currently throwing into the trash:

2x USB 2.0 PCI add-in cards

1 Tekram DC-390U3W

1 LSI Logic LSIU160

1 Adaptec AHA-2930CU

1 Adaptec AHA-2940U2

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True but sad story...I know someone who just "finished" using a notebook and while there's not a great amount of private info on it, rather than recycling it, or harvesting the components for other uses, he threw it into a pond. Don't get started on how bad that is for the now-bionic fish that live in that pond, etc.

While many people recycle their computers at BestBuy or with Dell or whatever...the drives are an important components as they hold the good stuff. Do you guys brick the drives with software? Drill holes in them? Throw them away and not care? Re-purpose the drives for external storage?

I'm just curious as to what the consensus is around here.

I agree with you, turn into Best buy and let them deal with it. In regurds to your HDD, if you dont want the infomation to get into the wrong hands. Buy an hard drive encloser and turn that HDD from internal HDD to External and keep using it for years to come. :) web@hypermicro.com

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I have a spare computer around. When I buy a new drive. I take the old one out, mount it as a 2nd,3rd, etc drive in the spare machine. Boot that up on the network. Then install my OS new on the new drive, and recover my data off the old drive as I need it. Just need to power the box on once in a while to get something I may have forgot or didn't want to transfer at the time.

So I basically never get rid of them. I have about 15 sitting around, installed in some space cases, that I can still go back and look at what I had installed on them

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It is fun to destroy computers by various methods, but at the end of the day I'd always recycle all the bits.... take it to an e-junk recycler. The Neodymium in hard drives are worth quite a bit and it is a rare earth element and the only source of this is China (right now).

Edited by danwat1234

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I'll reuse a drive if the capacity warrants it, otherwise it's just a waste of electricity/money to run a bunch of smaller drives when there are much larger drives available. At this writing I wouldn't bother keeping anything smaller than 1TB, although I do have one or two smaller drives set aside as spare boot drives. I use DBAN to wipe old drives, and if it's worth the trouble I sell them. If it's not worth the trouble then it gets recycled.

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I keep retired drives until they die. I even have an old IBM 3.2GB drive in an external usb case(never use it though, since thumbs drives are far more convenient). I have friends and family with computers built using my old hardware with various old drives in them, including some IBM 75GXP's. Yes, those IBM 75GXP drives are still in use to this day!

:lol:

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A 3.2GB drive, awesome! Thomas and I were just talking yesterday about making a Windows 3.11 NAS system for the fun of it ;) The anti-high-end build.

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