Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)


Solutions: Best way to secure an old hard drive? Destroy it

I gave my old laptop to a friend and found out she pawned it. I had taken most of the info off but have done online banking on it. I did not do a complete wipe of all documents, as I wanted her to have the programs. Could someone hack my personal info?

Yes they can, absolutely. Change your online banking passwords immediately. For future reference, you can find many secure erase programs for free on the Internet. Darik's Boot And Nuke is free and can be found at The safest thing is to physically destroy any hard drive that you no longer want.

On every computer that is shown on TV, whether it is in TV shows or in commercials, when the keyboard is used, there is a clicky sound, much like the older typewriters. I think it is called "tactile feedback." How come none that you buy have that feature?

You're old school and I respect that. I'm not aware of a keyboard that makes typewriter sounds, but there is a product that seems to fit the bill. Check out Sound Pilot at It allows your keyboard to emulate the sounds of Remingtons and Smith Corona typewriters. It cost $15, but that sounds pretty reasonable for something that (in their words) "makes the process of typing more interesting and entertaining, reduces stress, and helps encourage more rhythmical typing." There is also a piece of freeware at that says it does something similar, but I have not tried this myself, and it appears to be old (last updated in 2005), and it would be a "use at your own risk" type of deal.

I received an e-mail that I cannot open or delete. It reads, "message cannot be found" and then will not allow deleting or moving it to a separate file. Can you assist me in getting rid of this e-mail?

It's possible that your antivirus deleted the e-mail body while the header still shows in your Windows Live Mail store file, or there was some momentary glitch in the Live Mail server in the delivery. Here's the easiest (and safest) way to get rid of it: In Windows Live Mail, click Tools, Options, and then the Advanced tab. Under Maintenance and Troubleshooting, click the Maintenance button, then the Store Folder button. This will show you the location of your Windows Live Mail storage folder. Select and copy that location into your Paste buffer (highlight it and simultaneously press ctrl-c). Click the Start button, Run, and paste your location into the command box (ctrl-v) and then click OK. Or, if you have Windows 7, simply click the Start (orb) and then ctrl-v. This will open the folder in Windows File Explorer. Open the subdirectory of your account (if you have more than one) and then open the Inbox folder. The individual e-mails will have a two-part number with an .eml suffix. Find one with the same or similar date and time stamp as the problem e-mail. You should be able to double-click to open it and verify it is the correct one. Close it and then simply delete the .eml file by right-click, Delete.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Best way to secure an old hard drive? Destroy it 09/04/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 4, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]