Thinking about erasing an old hard drive?

first_imgReader mail crowds the box this week after a few weeks of reviews. Let’s hit the stack. Question: If I sell my computer to someone else, how can I make sure the hard drive is totally erased? I have some stuff on there that I don’t want other people to find, including tax records and banking things. Answer: If you want to be completely sure, sell it without the hard drive. Just keep it and let the buyer get his own. If you want to sell it with the drive intact, use a disk wiping utility like DBAN (free on the Web). That program, called “Darik’s Boot and Nuke,” is an effective weapon against data theft. You can download a version for floppy disk, CD, DVD or Flash Drives. Once you run that, your data is gone. Q: I have some old computer monitors that I have been trying to sell but have had no luck. I tried even to give them away, but no one wants them. They are large. My trash company won’t take them, either. What are my options? James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer service company and tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His e-mail address is [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A: If they are in good working order, a local school or charity may be interested or a Salvation Army or Goodwill center. If not, contact a recycler of computer parts (check the phone book), or your local trash company may have a referral. You don’t want to just heave them into the trash because there are metals in there you don’t want in the landfill. Q: I print about 90 documents a day, all about one or two pages. They are only in black-and-white with no pictures. I am interested in a heavy-duty printer that can do that kind of load. Do you have any recommendations? When I go to the office supply store, I am lost with all of the models. A: What you want is a workhorse black-and-white laser printer. A used HP 4, 5 or 6 would be my first choice if you can find one that has not been toasted by its previous owner. If not, look for a small, business-class, black-and-white laser printer. Avoid color lasers that also can print black-and-white, although the price is comparable. Look into the cost of replacement toner as well. Sometimes the bargain is in the refills but not in the toner. I am personally fond of HP and Lexmark lasers. Q: I bought the extended warranty on a laptop computer, and the salesman said it would cover everything that could ever happen to it, including if I dropped it in a pool. Now, a year and a half later, half of the keys won’t work. The company says it is wear and tear and won’t cover the repair. What can I do? A: Lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureaus in the cities where you bought the computer and where the extended warranty is from. E-mail the relevant state attorney(s) general. You also can participate in the many online forums for consumer complaints about extended warranties, which are the rip-off of this generation. Contact the manager of the store in person and explain what you were told. Contact your credit-card company to see if it can help. If nothing else works, find a local computer tech to replace your keyboard, which is not that expensive if done with integrity. last_img

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