March 2003  Volume 29, Issue 2
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Discarding Old Computers: The Trash is Not "Clean"

You've likely heard it before, but it can't be said enough: Firms that upgrade to new computers need to be aware of at least two concerns.

First, any client files that need to be maintained must be archived from the computer, either by printing them out or by transferring them to disks or other storage media.

More importantly, simply placing a file in the Trash or Recycle bin, or deleting it, does not completely erase the file from the computer. Instead, it merely removes the file from the computer's directory. Consequently, the hard drive or other media on your old computer will retain your possibly confidential client files unless the hard drive is truly "wiped clean." Use one of the various programs available to wipe drives clean (such as Cyber Scrub, Eraser, DataGone or Wipeeraser XP) before you put computers out on the street with the garbage or donate them to another party.
- David Hricik