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Old 06-24-2017, 07:12 AM   #1
Anne Wright
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Default Anyone left from the Vintage Computer Forum?

I'm cleaning out my Dad's old computer stuff. There is very little hardware and some software, but there are lots and lots of books. We packed up as much as we could fit in the car this trip and I am not sure what is in this batch. Left on the shelf downstate are books on subjects starting with Windows 3.1 and covering up through probably Windows 8. There was even one on Red Hat Linux.

We did bring home two computers but I am not sure if they work. I will be removing the harddrives to protect any data my Dad left on them. If I can get the computers to work and they have partitions with the OS, I will try to make backups for restoration.

If I can't find homes for these they will got in recycling. If anyone is interested or knows of anyone who might be interested, let me know.

Oh - almost forgot - I do have a Commodore 64 that was working when the last floppy drive for it quit. And a Texas Instrument TI-99 that has never been out of the box!

For those who don't remember me, I used to be on the Compuserve PC Hardware Forum.

Anne

   
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:35 PM   #2
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Depending on the systems, you may find quite a market and/or interest out there particularly for the Commodore 64. There was a thread over at dslreports.com on this not too long ago. I'll see if I can find it because if memory serves, there were ref's to some vintage computer sites. I'll report back.

You might look to buy a couple of drive enclosures for those drives from you dad's systems that way you could plug them in and more easily retrieve the data and/or at least check that the drives are functional and readable.


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Old 06-24-2017, 06:27 PM   #3
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Terrie,
I'm not so much worried about retrieving data as keeping sensitive information out of other's hands. Dad kept files with the social security numbers of everyone in the family and FEI numbers of the family businesses. He also kept a lot of financial info on his drive and sensitive correspondence.

We should have copies of all of that already but we don't need some one figuring out how to get it off the old drives. I still have the hard drive out of his 486 around here somewhere. It's boot sector was bad but the data was still readable. Depending on the connectors for the drive I may already have what I need to read them, though. I just don't trust my ability to thoroughly wipe the drives so I can just keep them.

Guess what we found after I posted earlier? 18 boxes of sealed, never used 3.5" floppy drives! I looked them up and they are still being sold on Amazon for $17 a box and on eBay for about $10 each. Also a never opened copy of Red Hat Linux - and I know there was a book on it at the house.

Anne

   
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Old 06-25-2017, 09:32 AM   #4
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>> I still have the hard drive out of his 486 around here somewhere.

Is there any value in keeping it, since you don't want the data it contains? By today's standards, it'll be tiny and glacially slow, and might not even be supported by current disk controllers. A $10 thumb drive from Staples will give you more storage and speed with far less hassle.

Now, if you disassemble the thing, you can take a screwdriver to the platters, scrape swaths of oxide off of them, which should make them utterly useless to anyone but maybe the NSA, and they already have all the info on the drives anyhow. ;-)

And as part of the mechanism that controls the heads, you'll likely find a pair of really cool magnets. Just don't get any fingers between them when they try to mate. Been there. Done that. Cursed loudly.

   
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
anne: 18 boxes of sealed, never used 3.5" floppy drives!
LOL!!! I have some also but not that many...'-}}

With respect to the drives. Once you are sure that you have all the data on your own system(s), there are a couple of approaches to wiping those (now unnecessary drives). If they still work, there are utilities out there that will zero-write the drives of all data. Alternatively, get a magnet and sit the drive on it and it will be bye-bye data and/or a hammer is also useful--wrap it in bubble wrap and have a horse step on it--bubble wrap to protect the horse's foot...'-}}


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Old 06-25-2017, 03:27 PM   #6
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Hi Anne

Here's the evidence that some of us are still around! I remember you well both your contacts in my area and your horses!

PC Hardware is still there although not that active except in spurts but a number of the old-timers including Marte Brengle and so is Windows Support

And you are not lost! Surprised there are so few listed; probably the search engine.

One of the regulars in PCHW actually recycles computers in a charity in his area. I checked with our local Goodwill store and they have an group who do it. Told me I could drop off stuff there and pick up the tax deduction slip!

   
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:29 AM   #7
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Steve,
There really isn't much point to keeping the old drives - as you said they are small and slow. I may just trash them as you suggest once I get them out of the old computers. With the older ones I already have, I just never got around to doing it.

We used to have a big magnet that was insanely powerful that we used to pick up random hardware in the pastures. The hardest part was prying the nails and stuff off the magnet. I figured out if I put it in a heavy duty plastic bag, I could peel the bag off so the metal stuff dropped off - but the bags never lasted long. I wonder if I could find a use for the hard drive magnets?

   
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:31 PM   #8
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On using the big magnet ...

Can't remember his name at this moment but one of the PCHW regulars was a hard disk designer until he retired a few years ago and he said it's highly unlikely that anyone would have access to a magnet powerful enough to ruin a hard drive.

From personal experience, maybe visiting a factory making the magnets they use in MRI machines -- hey or maybe putting them through one? -- would clear them. When I visited one many years ago we had to remove anything subject to a magnet -- watches, phones (although I'm not sure cellphones existed back then!), keys etc.

To show how powerful the magnets are when running the escort had a Yale type door key on a chain and when he held it in his hand from about 30 ft away (cordoned off for safety) the key went horizontal pointing at the magnet. True that was an unshielded magnet under running test but maybe that would do the job.

He says the only really safe method is to physically smash up the drive.

   
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:33 PM   #9
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Terrie -- see my note about magnets .... I doubt if even one of the Budweiser's that used to bed down at Anne's stable would do it either!

   
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:17 AM   #10
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Add another vote to "unlikely that anyone ...".

Considering how strong the magnets IN the HDD are, it'd take something seriously powerful to trash the data.

I imagine that putting a drive into an MRI machine would be as dangerous to the MRI machine as it would to the data on the drive. The drive might *launch* itself at Big Mama.

I used to use a bulk tape eraser to kill floppy drives, but in that case, the tape eraser was only the thickness of the floppy casing away from the media, not an inch or more as it would be with a 486-era HDD, and not shielded by a metal case. I thought about trying it on an old HDD but decided it'd be lots more fun to dismantle the drive. And it was.

   
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