Donation of old computers may stop

By Phantasm66 ยท 11 replies
Oct 4, 2004
  1. When I previously worked for a University, we would often donate old kit to charity. Schools, I think, often benefit from this sort of thing. Indeed, I do recall many years ago whilst in School seeing a donated Mac of some sort. Certainly, there are many non-profit organisations that benefit from computer donations... but is this about to stop?

    Well, it could be that donating old kit to schools and suchlike will become a thing of the past. The debate around the security of computer data continues to be an issue, and there are calls for old kit to be destroyed rather than donated. The donation of old computing kit (a socially, economically and environmentally good thing) may become a casualty of the information age. More here.
  2. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Why not just donate the system without the old harddrive?
    That should take care of any problems with data-shredding, but still make it possible for charities and schools to get (close to) free computers...
  3. dr3K

    dr3K TS Rookie

    old computers

    too true, even if all the kids did was take them apart and put them back together again. its a learning experience and better than letting the old computer collect dust in the back storage area
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +8

    I think this is a really big shame. I always try to make sure that my old hardware goes to a good home - and so should big companies as well.

    Mr. G is onto something here with the removal of the hard drives, but that's an added expense for a company that's just after a tax writeoff, and something maybe the school might not be able to afford, or be able to do.

    Someone should start a business collecting machines from companies, removing the hard drive and reinstalling them and supplying them to schools for a small fee, not charging for the donated hardware, just the labour of reinstalling the OS.
  5. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,674   +990

    I was thinking about the exact same thing.
  6. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    The article says overwriting hard disks is a problem because the old operating system would be gone.

    But other files can be deleted without wiping the whole drive.

    One way is to delete unwanted files, then create large files that fill the rest of the disk, delete them, create them again, until old data can't be recovered.

    But I guess that's not enough either in this paranoid era.
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +8

    In the future, even wiping the hard drives may not be enough; they may have to be destroyed. its perhaps already this way.
  8. sgt

    sgt TS Rookie

    I always keep my operating system on a seperate partition. Makes life a lot simpler!!! :)
  9. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Then, as disucssed above, why not give the computers to a company which runs Expert Erasure on the drives, and then re-install the OS?
    And to keep costs down, why not use a linux OS?
    Here in Norway we have a version specially created for our schools called Skolelinux (it's in english)...

    Maybe something similar could be used here?
  10. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Because "giving" computers to data erasing companies will cost, and they no longer have old OS discs / licenses needed to install.
  11. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +8

    Anything that involves altering the machines from the form that they are donated in to the form they arrive with their new users with costs money. Its this additional cost that is so problematic with donations. Ideally, you want to just pass the kit on "as is" so that there are no reconfiguration costs.
  12. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Which is what I was refering to, but instead of removing the harddrive that they wipe it instead and install an os (not necessarily windows)...

    But yes, I can see how companies would prefer to just fdisk and give away the computers instead of having to use a middle-man...
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