Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - Almanac Vol. 52, No. 22
Remove Data Before Discarding Old Computers
Before disposing of, or donating, old computers, hard drives, CDs, computer tapes, or other electronic storage devices, make sure that all the data is destroyed.
A simple delete by dragging the file to the trash and then emptying it is not sufficient. Computers don’t actually get rid of the data deleted this way, but simply mark the space as available for subsequent use. Meanwhile the old data is still "squatting" on your hard drive until your operating system happens to assign a new file to the space.
University computers and hard drives should be securely wiped by overwriting the entire hard drive seven times before disposal or donation. Commercial software that will do this includes PGP Desktop for Windows and Mac, Active Eraser for Windows, and Super Scrubber for Mac.
University Archives and Records also provides a secure electronic data records destruction service. Contact Pat Vickers at firstname.lastname@example.org.