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  Important Security Measures for your Home, Family, and Business - 2

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    Selling Your Old Computer

       Looking at Alternatives to Selling Old Computer s
    At some point, your computer will no longer be able to meet your needs. You may find yourself in need of more hard drive space for all those videos and mp3s that you download, for example. Unless you use your computer for nothing but plain text files, it’s going to get filled with a lot of “stuff” – stuff that can overfill a PC’s capacity too much for it to function well.

    There is a problem - while upgrading a computer is always an option, technology advances so fast that newer products (such as memory chips, new drives, etc.) aren’t always compatible with the machines that we own.

   This is a common occurrence when newer pieces of hardware require the programming of a newer operating system.
    Sure, you could upgrade the operating system to accommodate the demands of a new piece of hardware, but trouble starts when that new operating system requires new hardware in return. If we’re not careful, we could end up replacing almost every hard and soft part of an existing computer – all in an effort to upgrade! 
Upgrading in this fashion is not
only silly to do, it’s also costly, more costly than simply buying
a new computer.                 
But once the decision to buy a computer is made, what can be done with the old one?

There are alternatives to selling a computer.
      Here are a few of them.

   1. Donate it to a less-computer-literate family member or less-fortunate person.

    2. Give it to the kids.
This is of course, assuming the kids are too young to complain about not having enough RAM or "many GB" hard drive. Today’s older computers are perfectly capable of accommodating the needs of young PC users, and they’re excellent machines for playing educational CDs, small multimedia files, or games downloaded from the Internet. A simple encyclopedia CD on a used computer makes an excellent research tool (not to mention a rather fancy calculator!).

   3. Convert the computer into a storage machine. Disconnect it from the Internet and use it to store personal documents or files. This way, personal data (such as bank statements, store receipts, health records, tax records, etc.) are protected from prying viruses or hackers, while the newer machine is used to surf the net.

   Old computers still serve a purpose either for you or for someone else. And although selling an old computer is always an option, there are a number of things that you can do with an old computer, including making it a gift to a grateful recipient.

   But there’s another problem – and it’s a serious one. You may not want to share
your family sensitive personal data, email records, financial information, etc, with
whom ever has access to your old computer – even if you just keep it in the family.

   You should delete your personal stuff, and if you actually sell your old computer to anyone, definitely wipe your hard drive of all data. Just deleting data will not completely remove it.

   It's impossible to wipe all of the data off of a hard drive. Still, using one of several software tools available today, it is relatively easy to ensure that nobody will take the time needed to recover sensitive information from your old hard drive.

   If you want to completely erase your hard drive, programs can be found to do that by typing in [“free secure file deletion”] on a Google, Yahoo or MSN search.

   The Department of Defense has developed a standard method for writing over computer code, known as DoD7. It's rather involved.

   Another solution is a program named Eraser. It’s free software that does a secure deletion for you. To be safe, run it a few times - don’t assume you can run less rewrites to save time and still completely destroy your files.

   Rather than attempt to do this yourself, you could take your hard drive to a local reputable computer supplier or repair service to have them safely overwrite your files.

   The ultimate solution? Remove the hard drive and sell your old computer without it, or replace your old hard drive with a brand new one.

   But, what to do with your old hard drive? You could physically destroy it.

   Keep in mind, though, that modern data recovery companies are able to retrieve data from even the most physically damaged hard drives, and actually getting rid of files can be difficult. There have been cases in which drives were exposed to hazardous chemicals, burnt, covered in water for extended periods of time, and even struck by lightning and still were pronounced recoverable by tech savvy data recovery services.

   None of this is a problem if you have nothing serious to hide. You still want to
remove the data files first, though, then you can drill a hole into the hard drive case,
beat on it with a hammer and discard it in your trash.  
                                                                               ... Richard Rossbauer

Richard started his "Firewalls and Virus Protection" website and "Security Alert News Reporter" to help everyday Internet users navigate safely through the Cyber Space that has become a 'Cyber Jungle', loaded with ambushes and booby traps. He promotes his "Computer Security Awareness Campaign" thru his website at
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