Coly Computer Help


If you intend to pass the computer to a relative, friend, or a charity , remember that the computer will be eventually be scrapped and will then be available to criminals. In this case delete all your letters, favourites, email account details, emails, and email addresses. Empty the internet history and the Recycle bin.

Go to Progams-->Accessories then select Disk Cleanup to remove all temporary files, temporary internet files, and cookies. Then de-fragment the hard disk. The next person to own the computer will eventually overwrite the deleted files. You could format the hard drive and reload the operating System. However, a very determined criminal can even access the deleted files behind the overwritten or formatted files. If you wish to be completely safe, use an erase program to delete all traces of your deleted files.

If you intend to dump the computer: you could reformat the hard drive, but the police, MI5, and very determined criminals could still extract information from a formatted hard drive.

The best solution is to remove the hard drive and destroy it. If you do not fancy doing this yourself, ask a computer technician to remove the disk and dispose of it safely. It only takes five to ten minutes to remove a hard disk. To destroy the disk yourself, open up its casing, then with a big pair of pliers bend the shiny disks as much as you can. 

Programs which safely erase are available. These will remove sensitive information from a hard drive. After you have deleted all personal data, the program fills the vacated spaces with gobbledygook. East-Tec Eraser is one well known program but I have no personal experience of it.

Destroying Backup CDs . Wise people back up the contents of their My Documents folder to CD-R disks.
However, if you back up say, once every two months, you will eventually accumulate a pile of back-up CD-R disks. How do you dispose of the old ones safely? To prevent identity theft, before binning the CDs, destroy them by scrubbing both sides vigorously with very coarse sandpaper or a carborundum pan scrubber.

Identity theft is big news at the moment. The most common form of ID theft occurs when criminals sift through your discarded paper work and use the information to apply for credit cards which are then charged to your account. Tearing up your bills and statements is a waste of time, they can easily be pieced together by a criminal. Either burn them, shred them, or cut off and burn/shred the personal details and recycle the rest. Whereas even the dimmest criminal can build an identity from papers,  extracting similar details from a discarded computer needs rather more skill. Nevertheless, personal information must be removed before disposing of the computer. Incidentally shredded documents make good compost when mixed with vegetable matter.

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