5 Things To Do Before You Give Back Your Work PC

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fry

The IT department is taking differential backups of all user workstations?? Maybe at incredibly well-funded companies. Certainly none that I've ever worked for. And I've been in IT since the late 90s.

Obviously, you shouldn't steal company data and/or software, but if you're the type of person who actually keeps sensitive personal info on their work PC (don't, BTW) then wipe it. I'll take the risk that a desktop support guy is going to care enough to raise a stink.

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reutnes

I was very surprised to see this article. Copy your work files to personal media? Wipe your drive? Take enterprise software home and use it at a new job? Oh wow. This is data freakin espionage. "You never know when your documents will come in handy to bolster your resume." Or blackmail your company, or leak a customer's sensitive information.

Your work contacts: this is why LinkedIn exists. Do not copy your outlook files. You think that isn't logged? Hell, my company doesn't even let you use flash drives. If you plug one in this nice warning pops up on screen and leaves a log file in someone's email. Your work software? Do you have an enterprise license? Those install files probably won't work at home. Taking a database of work email addresses for your co-workers, or customer leads to bring to your next job? That is risky business.

Clear your browser data? Do you think that will help you at all? Sure, maybe if you've stored your passwords in internet explorer (why would you do that???), but your history and whatnot is already in a log file somewhere, and even the most basic monitoring software available can spit out a nice graph showing how much time you spend on facebook vs time spent on work-related websites.

"Delete your personal files." And protip, IT has already taken backups and clones of your hard drive. It doesn't matter if you wipe it, but it will definitely look sketchy when the tech goes to load the machine for the next user or to decommission the machine from the production environment, and might give him reason to snoop through his backups.

If you aren't the IT department, following any of these steps will be a bad move.

Stuff like this is why we have procedures for "emergency terminations" where we lock you out of your workstation BEFORE telling you you're gone.

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iheartpcs

Give back?

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fry

Wipe the drive (and by "wipe" I mean run a write-zero pass) before handing it back. IT is just going to load a fresh anyway, so they won't care.

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xer789

my roomate's aunt makes $83/hr on the laptop. She has been without work for 8 months but last month her pay was $8682 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site...NuttyRichdotcom

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routine

DBAN !

http://www.dban.org/

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MrHasselblad

I've personally seen employers that have income of about ten billion a year, yet still have no effective computer security. Strange as it sounds it is sadly not a joke.

That employees at this company regularly have highly confidential company trade secret types of items on their computer laptops; then bring them home - or even worse to a coffee shop. Doing all of this in administrator settings.

Then also transfering items like financials, HR items, even HIPAA on improperly secured WiFi

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aaronj2906

This might be more of a small biz thing. Here's another twist on things to do when you give back a PC.

I have seen it where a company does an emergency termination of someone with no notice to the employee, or there is a SOX/HIPAA problem. The system will actually log a user out while the account is disabled on the DC. I think it is leveraged through a combination of GPO and Altiris agent.

In terms of sending back a company computer and being afraid of our data falling in the wrong hands (why was it on a company computer, then), I mostly see situations where a computer imaging desk tech is too worried about reimaging hosts ASAP and redeploying them ASAP, rather that pulling a hard drive and trying to sift through your My Documents directory.

The company I work for and the clients I work at go as far as using drive encryption, disabling USB ports, requiring IRONKEY jump drives, and security access points. Your local hard drives are locked down, quota managed with roaming profiles in some cases. If they want your data, they got it.

In my line of work, when a computer must be re-tasked, the hard drive is not sent anywhere. Legally, it must be destroyed. Nothing is kept. Dealing with government reg phi is no joke.

So there's one extreme for you...

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aarcane

Um.. Always perform a full backup on any working system before decommissioning it? Always nuke a drive before letting it leave your physical control? at least 1 pass if you understand disk wiping and recovery technology, 3 if you're paranoid, 21 if paranoid is putting it lightly? Seems like common sense to me. The company can re-image the laptop in about 5 minutes of tech time and an hour on a bench, and the next guy who has it will appreciate the clean system.. Plus, most companies have to re-image systems before reissuing them anyway.

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theplustwo

Just using IE's built-in history clearing function is pretty insufficient and leaves a lot behind. Plus, does anybody who reads MaximumPC really use IE as their day-to-day browser? You're better off using CCleaner. Or better yet, nuking the partition.

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xRadeon

Back up the stuff you want and then dban. :) And if you work computer support and the person replacing you is an intern, unplug all the power cables, sata cables, ect in the computer and see how long it takes him to get his computer up and running. I totally did not do that once. Hahaha.

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BryceBooth

That's just awesome.

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praetor_alpha

#1 and #3 are generally big no-nos. You are opening yourself up to legal peril should anyone find out that you took business material with you.

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brentrad

You are both correct, but you should do it anyway. Just don't get caught doing it, and don't be so stupid as to use the old file in your new job. Copy and paste into new documents or just use them as a reference to create new files.

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USraging

All the employment contracts i have seen state that everything that is created or obtained during your employment belongs to the employer.

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