Last week I mentioned that losing your data isn't always a matter of losing your data. Data recovery programs can get back a lot of the information you think might be gone forever. But, since deleting files may not really mean a file is gone from your hard drive, be extra careful when disposing of or giving away your old system.
Many people don't know what to do with their old systems when they buy new ones. Quite often, they will donate the system to a school or charity – sometimes they'll throw them out or send them to a recycling depot, if one is available. When you give away or dispose of an old system be very, very sure the drive has been properly erased. You can never be 100% sure where your system may end up and you don't want sensitive data like banking information getting into the wrong hands. Remember in 2009 when a group of students bought a hard drive in Africa that ended up being from US defence contractor Northrup Grumman? They thought their computer was to be recycled and melted down!
Almost all data can be recovered unless it has been properly deleted or “zeroed out”. And remember that full size printer/copiers contain hard drives. So if you photocopied your taxes before you mailed them, be sure the printer you used is properly deleted before you dispose of it, too, or make sure to verify that the owner does.
Thanks for reading!
Until next week, I'm Computer Dave
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