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How to Securely Erase Private Data

Contents

How to Erase Private Data on a Cell Phone

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SMS text messages and MMS multimedia messages sent from and received by a cell phone are normally stored in your phone's inbox, but check with your phone's manual to make sure. Then follow the instructions for your phone to erase your private data before donating or throwing it away.


How to Erase All Data on a PDA

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To erase all the data on your PDA, do a hard reset.

''The way of performing a Hard Reset differs from device to device: it may require a simultaneous press of several buttons, deactivation or removal of the main battery. Check your user manual for details.'' - PDAGold.com

WARNING: Doing a hard reset will permanently erase all the data on your PDA, so if there's anything you want to save, make sure you back up your data first. skip

''Remote wipe is a new feature that enables administrators to erase sensitive data from a lost or stolen Pocket PC. This feature is enabled via a Web-based interface, which is restricted to Exchange Administrators by default. Other individuals (like help desk professionals) can be added as necessary.''

''After the remote wipe has been completed, the administrator will receive acknowledgement that [the] device has been wiped. Administrators can also set the Pocket PC to erase its memory when the PIN has been incorrectly entered a certain number of times.'' - Article by Dan Hanttula at PocketPCMag.com

A hard reset does not clear the data on a WM5 (Windows Mobile 5.0) device. Some Pocket PCs have a program installed to erase all data. Look under programs. If you don't see one, check your user manual for details. Or use the free HardReset for Pocket PC utility. skip

The PalmOne LifeDrive mobile manager (based on PalmOS) and Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 PDAs (based on GNU/Linux) now store data on a hard drive instead of flash memory. (Zaurus SL series devices are no longer sold by Sharp in the U.S. or Europe - only in Japan, but they're still popular.) skip

Without LifeDrive Update 2.0, ''any form of hard-reset [on a PalmOne LifeDrive] will erase the entire contents of the hard drive [- including PalmOS], without exception. When you issue the command for a hard reset, you're given two options: a fast erase that takes 5 minutes, and a 'secure erase' that takes 30 minutes.''

But with LifeDrive Update 2.0, you have three hard reset options. The new option only erases Program Memory.

''Given that the Lifedrive has government-use security certification, a secure erase presumably entails zeroing out all the data on the drive so that it can't be restored or recovered. Either way, you can't simply reset the device and expect to have your files waiting when it boots.'' - Adama D. Brown's Review of PalmOne LifeDrive at BargainPDA.com

After erasing your LifeDrive with secure erase, you'll have to reinstall PalmOS and restore your files. skip


How to Erase All Songs and Photos on an iPod

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Shred: If you plan on selling your iPod, but don't want to consider the likelihood of someone listening to your music and viewing your photos, use the Shred tool to permanently delete your iPod's media files and libraries.

This function can be easily replicated by using Apple's Disk Utility to re-format your iPod's hard drive with one of the the ''Secure Erase'' options and the latest iPod Software Updater to restore your iPod's software.


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