I swung by the new offices of Computers for Classrooms today to get a quick tour of what they are doing with their brand new facility. Pat Furr, the director, was kind enough to show me around. I must say I was impressed. I’ve always been a fan of this organization, as they supply schools and low income families with thousands of computers each year. What is even more impressive – they do it by recycling old computers.
One of the problems with the process is making sure any donated or scrapped computer hard drives don’t retain any personal data. To do that, they have a nifty NSA rated disk wiping program that will do 20 drives at once to ensure that whatever they send back out could not possible have anybody’s data.
But what about the hard disks that fail? They can still be taken apart, repaired and data recovered. To solve that problem, CFC now has a hard disk degausser, seen at left. Basically its a device that stores up electrical energy, then releases it in a huge magnetic pulse onto the hard drive inserted into it. The pulse not only destroys the data on the drive, but is strong enough to warp the magnetic platters and the drive heads, making it completely unusable ever again.
And they’ll do it for a $5 donation for anyone that has a hard drive they want destroyed. They’ll even give you a certificate of destruction. It also works on magnetic video and audio tape, Zip disks, portable hard drives, floppies, and anything else that uses magnetic media to store data.
So if you have some incriminating, embarrassing, or sensitive data files, or maybe some old Nixon tapes, take them on down to Computers for Classrooms and tell Pat Furr I sent you. They are located at 315 Huss Dr., Chico, CA 95928 (see map) phone 895-4175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
While you are there, you may want to help a needy family get a computer. They have complete systems available to the public for around $100 preloaded with Windows XP and Microsoft Office.