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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]
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