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Selling old computer equipment

Posted on 2012-04-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
So, we have some old kit that needs selling and ditching.

Obviously its now costing companies to dispose of old equipment (WEEE).

In terms of selling, there must be some reputable companies out there that buy old equipment.
Anyone recommend any business that do this in the UK?

Does anyone (as a business) use ebay?

Thanks
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Question by:CHI-LTD
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by:HyperAdvisor
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We usually donat to schools or sports clubs in the area

Have to make sure you wipe the hard drives first to comply with data protection laws
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by:CHI-LTD
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how about servers, switches, tape devices?
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by:David-Howard
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I work for a large corporation and as you know every few years or so we rotate/upgrade equipment. With respect to servers and switches we place those on EBay and they are gone in no time. It works out well for both parties. We don't have to pay for disposal or pick up and the buyer pays the shipping for the item. Those items just don't last long when we auction them. As for desktop's and old laptops we donate those to either local or foreign schools.
I'm not sure where you are located in the UK. But this link provides a listing of companies that deal with donations and recycled equipment.
http://www.itforcharities.co.uk/pcs.htm
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by:CHI-LTD
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OK, do you remove all traces of TAG/Serial Numbers?
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by:Wakeup
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No...TAG and Serial numbers should remain on the unit.
So that they are easily identifiable, and when redeployed easy to catalog.
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by:Mr_Electro
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Plus, if you remove the TAG / Serial Numbers, a lot of people won't accept them because they can't tell if they are stolen or not. Thieves try to remove serial numbers.
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by:Wakeup
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^^ that too! :)
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by:dlethe
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If you are concerned about any data on those disks then acquire some DoD secure erase software and take care of the HDDs yourself.   Or just lock the disks up in a closet until the end of time, or take the disks to a company that physically destroys them.

Then you don't have to worry about the rest.  Let's face it, it is a buyers market for used equipment.  Many times you are lucky enough to get somebody to haul it away for nothing if they can keep it.
 
So just worry about being responsible for the disk drives, then you don't have any headaches and can try to get something for the used equipment
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by:CHI-LTD
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Can you recommend a good software to wipe and guarantee the wipe is successful?
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by:Wakeup
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Some good information on how to really erase a hard drive.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/how-to-really-erase-a-hard-drive/129

It's a long read.  But will give you quite a bit of info, and also depending on how securely you want to erase the data from the drive.
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by:Wakeup
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by:dlethe
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The product mentioned in the add only works if you can boot the PC to dos AND it uses IDE (NOT SATA) disk drives.   I know this for a fact.  It also will not work with SCSI or any other type of disk and there can't be any RAID controllers, just a plain vanilla IDE motherboard (not add-on) controller.  IT is also one disk at a time.   Furthermore, older IDE drives don't even support the secure erase command as it was not part of the earlier IDE/ATA programming spec.

Old used HDDs, especially ATA/IDE drives aren't worth anything to anybody, so you are best to get them physically destroyed or lock them up in a closet somewhere till the end of time.

You should contact a company http://www.santools.com and ask about their secure erase software.   They have versions for multiple operating systems, such as windows, linux, solaris, ...  & supports ATA, SCSI, fibre channel, SAS/SATA, ... pretty much anything.  

But still, you have to have a non-RAID controller and there are rules about what can and can't be done.
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by:CHI-LTD
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I have been recommended blancco!  Bit pricey tho
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by:Wakeup
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Dban, Boot and nuke....free alternatives...
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by:CHI-LTD
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How good is dban in comparision to blancco?
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by:dlethe
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dban is shareware, blancco is professionally written & supported.  Isn't that enough?
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by:CHI-LTD
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if they essentially do the same thing then im happy
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by:dlethe
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They do the same thing to "supported" devices.  If all you have are ATA/SATA disks and you are happy doing a few at a time, dban.  If, however, you have disks that may not be sectored to 512 bytes or have Fibrechannel or SAS ... and the disks may have bad blocks then go with the commercial software.  

Also supported controllers is an issue.  Best to use a dedicated system with DBAN that has known supported controllers.  That is a big part of the magic.

Summary:  If all disks are standard PC desktop ATA (IDE) or SATA drives, and you have a dedicated system with plain vanilla controllers where the SATA port emulates IDE disks then dban is fine.  (With exception that the HDD probably can't be > 2 TB).     If disk came out of a RAID system, then all bets are off with DBAN and you need something like the santools or blancco.   The blancco software is more dedicated towards secure erasing, where the santools has secure erasing as a feature.  So blancco will be easier to use and prettier, but costs more.
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by:Wakeup
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http://www.wiebetech.com/products/Drive_eRazer_Ultra.php

IF money is not an issue...

Drive eRazer Ultra!

Especially if you know that you will have a use for it later (For redeploying old machines or wiping old drives etc).  This device will be use able for a while.

Better than most of the software that can be purchased, don't need a dedicated computer.  Of course the only issue is SAS, SCSI, and some SSD drives.

This unit will also clear HPA and DCO.

And will also print out a certificate if you should need it.
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by:dlethe
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I've used an equivalent unit while in the field.  Can't remember the name as it belonged to the data center I was at.  

One gotcha ... Major pain in the *ss, because you have to open up the system, and obviously limited to just a few units at a time.  But nice in a pinch.  Be wary, ask questions.  

With a USB-attach, then if the disk doesn't have the built-in SECURE ERASE command-set, then this could take DAYS to run. USB 2.0 is good for 12MB /sec give or take, and the spec is write 1, write 0, write random, full read.   No way to speed up the random & read/verify phases as this is part of the certification....

So a 1TB disk will take at a minimum ( 1,000,000 / 12 / 60 / 60 ) or figure 24 hours per pass.   ... if the secure erase is not supported in the firmware.  Most disks now have that, but if they are > 5 years old they may not.

That is why software is more convenient if you have a lot of disks to do, and why I recommend going down that path.  IF this is for use out in the field, and you don't have a dedicated system or don't want to or have lots of drives, then you need to look at the other products.  (Everything will give you a report by the way, that is required by the spec).

I'm not a fan of dban because at least last time I used it, the software required booting the computer to LINUX, and then there are issues depending on what SATA/IDE controller you had.  At least at the time, it didn't work with LSI SAS/SATA controllers or any motherboard that didn't' let you make a SATA disk emulate an IDE drive.   But that was a few years ago, and  certainly worth checking out.

The santools also has model where the software is licensed to a USB stick, so if your host is running windows or linux or whatever, you just pop the stick in the USB port on the host, and then kick off the software by running it from the stick.  So you can just buy a few sticks and use them on as many computers as you want,  Kick it off and then nothing to rewire.  No need to boot another O/S, unless you don't have a supported target O/S already running or the disks are behind a raid controller.

But all the software DOES have issues with controllers and there are differences that go well beyond scope of here. Best to call vendors if you need to do a lot of this.   RAID controllers and drives that are in external enclosures require special code so be aware and get makes and models and ask questions.  Nothing works everywhere.
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by:Wakeup
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Actually the Wiebetech Drive eRazer has SATA and PATA/IDE ports built in.

Speed should not be an issue.  As far as one drive at a time goes, if you are using Secure Erase.  And again, you don't need a dedicated machine.  Sure software might be a good route too.  But hardware version IMO is better for certain situations.  HPA/DCO for one...I do not know of any software solution that will handle that.

Also some things to consider.  I haven't researched all of the software packages that are out there...but some of them may not be DoD Compliant.  So research the software before you decide to go down that route if that is the case.  However the Drive eRazer is compliant.  And will give you options to run various options for drive erasure.

Yes the downfall is one drive on the unit and may, of course some drives may not support Secure erase, and that the Drive eRazer doesn't support SCSI and SAS and drives other than mainstream IDE/SATA.  But it is indeed an option.

Also Software IMO may not be convenient either.  And as stated above, you still have similar limitations with some software.  Also unless you have a dedicated machine.
The erasure process can take resources from your computer.  Tie up your computer and could even cause issues with the computer if the drive is starting to fail or have bad sectors.  Also if you have drives coming out of SCSI systems SAS Systems etc, you are also bound to having those controller cards for your desktop machine anyway.  So trying to say that the external unit doesn't support those, is just the same as your Desktop if you do not have those controllers at your whim.  And I believe most SCSI drives do not support Secure Erase anyway.  So unfortunately yes you may be bound to Sofware erasure on such drives.

Also to note, I also disagree that All software will spit out a report.  Yes they may spit out a report "Drive is erased"  But will it give you the DOCUMENTED method, and is the report NIST 800-88 and DoD 5220.22M compliant?  I've done a little research a while back and most of the software that I REMEMBER did not support a report with such information.  But things may have changed.  Prove me wrong if you will.  Show me that ALL softwares will issue a report that is NIST 800-88 and DoD 5220.22M compliant.  

And I disagree with 5 year old drives not supporting Secure Erase.  That's crazy...Secure Erase has been implemented on most drives 20GB and larger.  Over 5 years ago we already had SATA and Secure Erase has been around since around 2001.  That's like 11 years ago.  Now grant it like I said not ALL drives back then had SE.  But SE's been around for quite some time now.  

I'll agree that hardware erasing may not be for everyone.  This I will say for sure.  But you can't discount it either.  And not just in the field or away from the office.  These tools are great in the office as well.

Here's a few CURRENT reviews:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/review-wiebetech-drive-erazer-ultra-verdict-sweet/12336

Also read the responses in the ZDNET Article.  Quite informative on some software based erasure.  Like Darik's Boot & Nuke.  Which is NOT NIST certified. DBan and other software that can't compare.

http://www.tuaw.com/2012/02/07/wiebetech-drive-erazer-ultra-provides-super-secure-drive-wiping/

Also RAID really should not be an issue to wipe, just yank the drives you've killed the RAID and then what?  so what...erase the drive outside of the RAID either using a hardware solution or even a software one.  No big deal.  (unless you are talking SCSI or SAS then again we are bound to a controller).
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by:Wakeup
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Opps I missed my 2nd ZDNet Article, with the informative information:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/how-to-really-erase-a-hard-drive/129?tag=mantle_skin;content
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by:CHI-LTD
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So what tools are there to recover data from HDD's?  Ultimately, i will have to test these out....
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by:CHI-LTD
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And according to what people are saying there are two requirements: Desktops and Servers/RAID
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by:Wakeup
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Well Many levels of Software data recovery can be had.
If you are a hacker a barrage of TORRENTED/HACKED recovery tools.  
I have a friend who is a DATA Recovery specialist.  He has hardware/Laboratory equipment to do data recovery on drives.  

So not exactly sure what kind of answers you are looking for.  But depending on the person who acquires your drives/systems you may/may not be susceptible to someone trying to gain your data.

Two requirements for what?  For Data recovery?  Drive wiping?  Other?
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by:CHI-LTD
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Requirements - for different levels of wiping i guess, i.e. server/desktop or sensitive/non-sensitive...
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I don't think it matters weather it's a server or desktop, so long as you have the tools to wipe. (be it software or hardware or controller cards etc).  

What types of drives are you seeing?  SATA, IDE?  SCSI SAS? other?
That's probably where you need to start.  Also weighing in the cost of a system and time to Secure Erase drives and such could be a factor.  As far as a SERVER goes, you won't want one for drive wiping.  You'll spend so much money on server gear just to wipe drives is a waste of money IMO.  If you are investing in a desktop that's fine.  In reality it doesn't take a super computer or server grade machine to wipe the drives.  Again only consideration is controller cards.  Which you can purchase for both server or desktop computers.  However some server machines might include SCSI or SAS depending on the motherboard or options.  But still at the cost of a pretty penny, which you can do at a fraction on a Desktop.
Now if you are trying to invest in two machines, one for sensitive and the other for non sensitive data, then perhaps like I mentioned, a Weibetech Drive eRazer and a desktop.  Might give you more options/speed/performance as well as DoD Compliant labels/report.
And you can then have multiple options as well as in the field support.  Also the Drive eRazer is capable of Secure Erasing the drive without the use of a monitor, or computer system.  Has features to do different levels of wiping.  Has built in IDE and SATA support as well as USB and again gives you something that most softwares won't erase/can't which is the HPA/DCO sections of the drives if they are present on the drive.

Here's the mode of erasures the device supports:
QUICK ERASE - Performs single pass writing all zeroes
CUSTOM ERASE - Performs 1 to 99 passes (user-selectable), overwriting with zeroes or a user-selected pattern
SECURE ERASE N - Initiates the drive’s built-in Secure Erase (Normal) function
SECURE ERASE E - Initiates the drive’s built-in Secure Erase (Enhanced) function
DOD CLEAR US - Department of Defense “Clear” standard
DOD SANITIZE US - Department of Defense “Sanitize” standard
NIST80088 CLEAR “Clear” - standard defined by NIST special publication 800-88
NIST80088 PURGE “Purge” - standard defined by NIST special publication 800-88
CSEC ITSG-06 - Canadian data sanitization standard
HMGIS5 BASELINE - Great Britain’s “Baseline” drive erasure standard
HMGIS5 ENHANCED - Great Britain’s “Enhanced” drive erasure standard
DSD ISM 6.2.92 - Australian government's data sanitization standard

And gives you options to program your own level of sanitization as well.

The other benefit of the eRazer, is if the drive does support Secure erase, the unit will access the drive from a hardware level and use the drives ability to secure erase, bypassing the computer system.  Usually making the drive erasure process faster.
Rather than going through a controller on a system (be it IDE/SATA or other) then going through to the OS etc to send the commands.

Another major point is that this unit will support 2.5" and 1.8" drives as well with the correct optional adapters.  As well as alternatively using this unit as a Drive Dock and can use the USB port to connect to a PC/MAC to verify contents of the drive before wiping or even use it to move data back to the system from the drive to be sanitized.

Just some thoughts.
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by:CHI-LTD
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Its looking like we will (because of the extreme costs) a) store the desktop HDD's and wipe/reuse and b) dismantle and dispose of the server HDD's.....
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by:Wakeup
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Totally understand!  Both are good ideas for sure.
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by:CHI-LTD
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Will go route of keeping all desktop disks and resuse when required.  Server disks will be dismantled and disposed of...
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by:Wakeup
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by:CHI-LTD
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Yes it looks good for desktop drives, however my main concern is the server drives....
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by:CHI-LTD
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Update: Just to add, we are now going the route of free collection by 3rd party company to dispose and wipe using PD wipe and dban.  

Its free for us for collections.

ebay is not always as good as it used to be - possible bad reputation shoudl something go wrong, plus u hear kit isnt selling at 99p....

We plan to dban before the leave the building also...

Comments?
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by:Wakeup
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http://www.dban.org/faq/certification

DBAN is not certified.

So...that's the only issue I see.  Also 3rd party company.  Make sure they are respectable?  reviews?  
I've seen a few bad stories about sending drives to third party companies for wiping etc.
I am not certain about PD Wipe.  I have not seen/heard about this software before.
But as far as I know not many software will clean/wipe an HPA/DCO.

Other than that...free is a good price.  DBAN's not a BAD program.
If you don't have to do the rest of the work, then that's not bad either.
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by:CHI-LTD
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Would a 7pass wipe of a disk really be re-storable?
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by:Wakeup
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7 Pass should be fine.  

I'm just talking about incompetent workers, and ethics.
I work for a company in the securing of data and erasure methods.
So I see/hear/know of incidents.

I also used to work in a computer store environment, and as you can see above the discussion on which/what method differs among the "specialists/techs"

So the biggest question is, what is going to give you the peace of mind knowing your data is clean/clear and that you are happy with.

Options:
1. 1 pass 0's 1's or whatever.
2. 7 pass?
3. Secure erase?
4.  35 pass?
5. Destroy the drive.

Also do you need the option to erase/remove HPA/DCO?
Most of the software is not capable of doing so.  If so, then you may need a hardware solution or destroy the drive.

The only other thing to consider is if you need it to be certified.  Some software are capable of cleaning a drive well enough, but may not be certifiable.

Of course there are other options in between or added to these as well.
The decision is up to you.  And if you think it is enough.
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by:CHI-LTD
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Cheers.  Well wdban 7-pass wipe here locally then the 3rd party co will take it away and do the same.
any dban that doesnt work then we will keep or dismantle disks.
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