How do I secure a hard drive before sending it in for repair?

How does one secure a hard drive while sending the computer to a repair facility? I have personal financial information on my hard drive and will just a password provide sufficient protection while the computer is in the shop? After the fact, is there maybe a way to find out if someone has copied the files?

What you’ve presented is actually quite a dilemma.

To answer the second part first: no. There’s simply no way to determine if your files have been copied – at least not in any way that absolutely says they were copied with malicious intent.

The problem is, there’s really no fool-proof solution to your scenario. In fact, I’ve heard of companies occasionally electing not to repair a hard drive, because it meant that sensitive data might be visible to repair technicians.

Your options to secure a hard drive are limited, but if you can plan ahead, there’s a chance.

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Who’s responsible for monitoring misleading advertising?

Leo, thanks for your site. Which agency controls or watches the advertisements of all the links that are posted? The big complaint that I have are the sites to clean your PC, which say “Free”, and at the end you have to pay for activation. Should it be a requirement that a big red note says, “This is not a free site”? I fully realize that there’s no free lunch but these lead you on to sites and cause you to waste much time.

The practical answer to this specific question that you asked is there’s not really such an agency.

Yes, in the United States you might think of your state’s Attorney General, but practically speaking they’re rarely going to step in and help unless it’s something really, really serious and widespread.

Besides, most of these ads have some very slippery wording that actually keeps them out of trouble.

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What’s in your toolkit?

I was recently asked where one gets a toolkit. That was about as clear and complete as the question was. I suspect that it was actually a student in some computer technician certification class who was asking.

My response: a toolkit isn’t something that you just find or purchase. It’s something that most computer geeks collect and assemble themselves, often over time, consisting of an assortment of tools and utilities that they’ve found helpful in the past.

As I’m about to go visit a friend with computer troubles, let me show you mine.

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My Computer Locks Up and Won’t Boot. What Do I Do?


My computer locks up and won’t boot. What do I do?

Your computer locks up, crashes, stalls or otherwise fails to completely boot up into Windows. That’s particularly painful, since most all of our diagnostic tools require that Windows be running. Diagnosing the problem with a computer that won’t boot can be difficult.

In this article we’ll look at some of the resources that you do have available, and try to gather a little information about the type of problem you might be experiencing.

I’ll start at a successfully booting Windows, and work backwards to a completely dead machine.

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