Vintage Computers — 13

During my initial steps of traveling memory lane I pondered whether I might sell the 486 system. Many people embrace vintage computers as a hobby. Another side project that blossomed during this journey was noticing how much personal information was on the 486.

Not a mystery considering the system was my primary production box for many years. Regardless, before I would sell the 486 I needed to scrub that personal information.

The easiest approach would be to secure wipe the hard disk and sell the system as is. I have all original floppy disks and for any sale I would create an optical disk containing all of the floppy disk images I now have archived. Let the buyer rebuild the system to taste. That seems to be the sane solution but as might be expected, provides little to no technical challenge. I wanted to try scrubbing the data manually. Perhaps I am a sucker for challenges.

Finding and scrubbing the personal information is mostly straightforward with Linux. As there is no remote access to the computer I transferred the hard disk into the K6-III+ disk tray. From my office computer I used SSH to access the hard disk. Using various search criteria I found and scrubbed the disk of personal information. The grep command is one of life’s great little treasures.

I haven’t decided about selling the 486. I think the system would sell, especially with the collection of floppy disks, respective disk images, and the collection of dead tree user documentation. For now there is some appeal about keeping such a vintage system active and connected to the house network.

More to come.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

Next: Vintage Computers — 14

Previous: Vintage Computers — 12