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Precautions When Selling, Trading, or Sending a PC to Salvage or to a Repair Shop

August 3, 2005
Article by H.D. Knoble as published by Penn State University


Sensitive data is confidential, private, personal data on any digital media. Experience has shown that many if not most PCs to be transferred out of production, still contain data which is considered sensitive related to University business. This includes passwords, employee/student private and/or personal data, financial, health, banking information, personnel documents, proposals, contractual records, etc. Thus when a University Microcomputer sent to University Salvage and Surplus, or transferred between departments, sent for repair, or otherwise disposed of, such sensitive data on any related media should be permanently and securely overwritten or destroyed.

Recommendations for Microcomputers

Since manual removal of individual occurrences of sensitive data has been shown to be unreliably incomplete, this author recommends using a professional disk sanitation algorithm (Eraserdisk) or wiping tool software that supports DoD 5220.22-M disk overwriting Standard to completely overwrite fixed disk(s) of PCs that are being transferred out of production: sold/traded between departments, or sent to University Salvage and Surplus or sent out for repair.

Methods (detailed algorithms) to completely securely overwrite fixed disks are well documented. For example, see: http://wipe.sourceforge.net/secure_del.html.

The following software completely destroys (overwrites; wipes) ALL data on fixed disk(s), including the operating system. Actual MS Windows and Linux software that support secure (DoD 5220.22-M disk overwriting Standard) complete wiping of fixed disks may be found at:

Commercial disk wiping software for PC's may be found at:

Buy EraserDisk Now.


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