Monday, 7 January 2019

Killing Time

190106 kill a computer-001

Mind you – it was not really Time that needed to be killed, but a couple of old laptops that have been lurking in my wardrobe for years now, guarding all my secrets from the past… My personal data like documents, pictures and music were safely copied to more convenient storage long ago. The reason why the dragons are still lurking is just my distrust of being able to properly wipe their memories, before handing them over to the recycling center… But one of my New Year Resolutions for 2019 (not written down anywhere but in my own head) is/was to finally Do Something About It.

So on Friday, I started with the newer of the two (Windows7-not-very-successfully-updated-to-Windows10) . (Replaced by my present pc two years ago). After a couple of rounds of trial and error, I did find my way within the Windows software to restore that one to its original factory settings; including cleaning it from personal data. It took five or six hours to complete the process; but at the end of the day, it did seem to have been successful. (Yes I know - there are probably also computer wizards out there who could still bring it all back… But I doubt it’s likely that anyone would find it worth while.)

The other, even older dragon (Windows Vista) proved to be a tougher challenge, though. My first battle with it on Saturday got me nowhere. I had the manual, I read instructions, I followed instructions…  Sometimes, to tease me, it gave a convincing impression of making an effort, showing messages like “Windows is loading files” or “This may take a while” … just to eventually end up with some error message, and another prompt to restart. Which, each time, it happily did. Yesterday, I gave up, and instead spent hours on manually deleting personal files, uninstallling software that I knew were not in the original setup, and deleting internet history and passwords etc. Today, I again tried alternative ways of resetting/restoring, both with and without CDs. Nope. The dragon is still alive, and at every restart optimistically suggests that I should consider doing a new backup, and update my virus protection… (I’ve kept it offline during my experiments.)

Perhaps I should just connect it to the internet, and hope for some vicious virus to find it? Or drown it in the shower in the bathroom? (I found a YouTube clip showing that…) (I suppose I could also ask my brother the IT-wizard. I’m just a bit stubborn sometimes…)

Out of curiostiy: What do you do with old computers?? Have you got a pc museum in your basement/attic, or have you actually got rid of them (and how)?


  1. we remove the hard drive and smash it to pieces with a hammer. then they go to the pickup spot for computer trash.

  2. I keep mine for backups if I ever need one. I think you should do what Sandra does!

  3. Sandra has the solution I use.

  4. I currently do not have any other computers than my desktop PC, around 11 years old, my iPad and the notebook that belongs to our company. The latter is handled by RJ (who is the boss of our company), and the desktop PC is regularly updated. For important documents, I create regular backups on external storage.
    As for internet history, passwords etc., I have that wiped automatically each time I close the browser. It means I have to continue typing in my passwords every time I re-access my usual sites and services, but I guess that's a small thing compared to the security risk.
    If I should need a new HDD (which will be unavoidable on the long run), I am going to clear the old one as good as I can and then take it to the shop where I bought it. I trust the folks there to give it a professional scrub before handing it over to recycling. It may mean that I have to pay a small fee for that, but that's OK for me.

  5. Sounds like it takes hardware to destroy hardware! I'll probably still be needing help, then - from someone who is good with screwdrivers and hammers ;)

  6. Like, Sandra, I remove the hard drive and smash it.

    1. Yes, I'm beginning to see that that's probably what it takes...! ;)

    2. In the UK you could always send it in to PC World for repair. I can guarantee nothing will be recoverable from it.

    3. Adrian, I think that seems a bit too drastic! ;) My brother has promised to bring his set of screwdrivers on his next visit - I think that will probably do the trick!

  7. Sounds like you've had quite the time there, I found I had no issues with Windows 10 but my younger son didn't like it after he had installed it and ended up going back to version 8 or 9.

  8. Amy, on my present pc (bought in spring 2017) I have no issues with Windows 10. I've just been lazy when it comes to dealing with when/how to get rid of the old ones.


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