How to remove your data from an old device

these are good at wiping something, but not data.  photo: Your Best Digs CC

When it’s time to retire your old electronic device, you need to “wipe” all of your data off of it before you let it go. My favorite method is the one I heard about from a medical social worker: run it through the MRI at work.  (haha)

For those of us without that option, there are services that will do this for you (for a fee, and providing a BAA) but you can also do it yourself.  Here are a few links with methods explained, thanks to William Schroeder, founder of Just Minds, here in Austin.  Note that the procedure varies with the type of computer (or hard drive) that you have.

Windows 10




Easier way:

Most secure way:


General hard drive advice:

If the device you are worried about is a printer (scanner, fax machine, etc) the question is how big & fancy it is.  If you bought it for $85 at a big box store, it probably does not have an internal memory holding on to what you have scanned/printed.  If it’s a super fancy machine that you leased, though, that’s a different story.