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The Computer Log #7 for December 16, 2009

Well Christmas is here, and all the new computer and cell phones are set up and under the “Christmas Tree”, and you wonder what to do with the old computers and cell phones. Well if you decide to dispose, or give your old computer away you better be sure you do not have any personal data on it. One way is to restore the computer by reformatting the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. But even then I would be careful who it goes to.

If I dispose of a computer, I will pull the drive. The only sure way is to remove the hard drive and destroy it by running a drill through it, or taking a mallet or heavy hammer and beating the hard drive till it rattles real good. The platters inside the hard drive needs to be broken. If “I” dispose an old computer I tear it apart and sort out the parts. Circuit boards, power supplies and cards go into a separate barrel and memory is sorted and stored for later use if it is new enough, and the empty case to metal recycle. The local county disposal station has a box for the circuit boards. Oh yes the destroyed computer hard drives go into the circuit board barrel. The older monitors are consider a small TV Sets at the county recycling station, and the last time I checked, there is a disposal fee. I do not know about the flat screen monitors.

Remember, DO NOT dispose of a computer without first removing the hard drive(s) even if the computer is dead!!! It is real easy to get any private info and documents from it including maybe credit card info.

Oh !!! By the way, as I said before, “I” use old computers for web servers and firewall servers. The normal desktop computer will last 7-10 years or more and laptops just 3-5 years. Usually the big thing that fails is the hard drive in them. Hard drives for laptops with normal use is 3-5 years and I find that 1-2 years in my laptop is the norm. What I do is in a desktop is replace the hard drive with large 500+ gig drives because the old drive is usually only 6-40 gigs in most computers of that age and because the drive cost is so low. Installing and updating windows again with a new drive or reinstalling on the old drive is a 6-10 hr job and the Web server 1-3 hrs so usually the economics makes it real easy to get another server up vs setting it up again as a home machine. A firewall server requires a second Ethernet port and if the small hard drive passes muster using Spinrite from I will use that hard drive.

Now lets talk about the old cell phones before disposing of them. Erase the contents or reset the phone to factory clean state. You may not want your address book looked at and used by someone else. Now with smart phones, you may have info on it including email address and passwords not meant for someone else. Some people carry important docs and medical info on them. As far as disposing of them there are a number of pick up places that will take your old cell phones at no charge, and remember your chargers.

My free software of the week is FileZilla, a real nice Open Source (Free) FTP client that will work on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux and can be found at and is the same software client I use to upload web pages to the net. It can also be used to download files from many sources on the net. But as always be careful what or where you download from.

Franklin S Werren is a computer technician and runs Chautauqua Lake Hosting and Franks Radio in Sherman NY.And can be found on the web at and and via e-mail at

Disclaimer: Neither “Franklin S Werren” or the “Chautauqua Star” have received any money or promotional items in anything talked about in this column.

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Page last modified on December 18, 2009, at 01:15 AM EST