Old Computer

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
farwest
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Old Computer

Postby farwest » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:28 am

We have installed a new computer a few months ago and everything is working fine. I haven't done anything with the old computer until I made sure we didn't have any problems. Is there anything I need to transfer or save from the old computer before retiring it. I was wondering about old finance records in particular. By the way this is a stake computer not a ward. I love this site it is a great asset to have.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:37 am

farwest wrote:We have installed a new computer a few months ago and everything is working fine. I haven't done anything with the old computer until I made sure we didn't have any problems. Is there anything I need to transfer or save from the old computer before retiring it. I was wondering about old finance records in particular. By the way this is a stake computer not a ward. I love this site it is a great asset to have.


I assume you restored your MLS database from the old computer onto the new computer (otherwise you wouldn't say that "everything is working fine"). An MLS database contains the three previous years in addition to the current year, so you already have all the older financial records you need.

Sometimes wards have other helpful files that you would want to make sure you preserve (agenda templates, tithing settlement letters, etc.). You probably would have transferred those as well.

Once you have transferred everything, make sure the stake technology specialist (perhaps that is you) scrubs the hard drive so that there is no confidential information, and then follow the computer disposal instructions from your local FM group (there are some older instructions online, but I understand they have been replaced by a new policy that the FM group is responsible for implementing).

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:59 pm

It should be noted that "scrub the hard drive" is not just deleting the file or formatting the drive. It's a program you much run that overwrites things so they can not be recovered. The church can provide it, or the one I like is SecureErase. With any luck, your drive will be new enough that it can securely erase the whole hard drive very quickly. Otherwise, plan on having it sit for a few hours while it does it's work.
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maethows
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Postby maethows » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:31 am

RussellHltn wrote:It should be noted that "scrub the hard drive" is not just deleting the file or formatting the drive. It's a program you much run that overwrites things so they can not be recovered. The church can provide it, or the one I like is SecureErase. With any luck, your drive will be new enough that it can securely erase the whole hard drive very quickly. Otherwise, plan on having it sit for a few hours while it does it's work.


Another good tool is DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) which can be found at http://www.dban.org/download.

Please note that theoretical data remanence issues (Gutmann, et al) are just that, theory (and those that are not just theory apply to hardware that is older than anything likely in your unit). I haven't seen anything published that provides anything more than a statistical recovery of a few bits. So, unless you are in a very unique situation, wiping a hard drive by writing a NUL to every byte for one pass should be more than sufficient. I'll have to go back through some old documentation, but I believe a recently updated NIST or DoD standard now reflects this reality. I only bring this up because the amount of time required to wipe a disk can be significantly reduced by using this less-paranoid setting in the wiping tool.

-Michael

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:41 pm

mfellows wrote:Another good tool is DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) which can be found at http://www.dban.org/download.


Yes, I've used it in the past. Personally I'd prefer either of the two over the church's offering just because they are both free while the one that the church provides is licensed and you are supposed to report how often you use it. Less hassle and save the church a few bucks.

But I'd try to use SecureErase first as I understand it can link to internal disk routines that can signficantly speed up the process.

mfellows wrote:So, unless you are in a very unique situation, wiping a hard drive by writing a NUL to every byte for one pass should be more than sufficient.


Yup. I think a one pass is enough. Beyond that it's difficult enough that someone is likely to find better things to do - or other methods of getting the data.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:32 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Yes, I've used it in the past. Personally I'd prefer either of the two over the church's offering just because they are both free while the one that the church provides is licensed and you are supposed to report how often you use it. Less hassle and save the church a few bucks.


I think you're thinking of the old DataGone software, which did require reporting how often it was used. But the Church no longer uses it. So neither argument (reporting or cost saving) applies any more.

Eraser is now the recommended software for scrubbing hard drives. It is available for download from mls.lds.org (in the Additional Local Unit Software area), and it is free to use -- there are no reporting requirements. Portions of it seem to come from DBAN.

While other applications may have their merits, it seems to me our first recommendation should be to use the Eraser software recommended by the Church, unless there is some particular evidence to the contrary.

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Postby maethows » Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:31 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:While other applications may have their merits, it seems to me our first recommendation should be to use the Eraser software recommended by the Church, unless there is some particular evidence to the contrary.


The best disk wiping tool is the one that gets used. ;-) People have a tendency to avoid (or screw up) burdensome tools and processes -- and what is useful to one may be burdensome to another. Eraser and DBAN may be great tools. So long as it meets the requirements, whatever the clerk/technology specialist feels comfortable with should be good. It's great that the Church has provided/linked to such software -- not everyone has dealt with these concerns before (even though most people should wipe their drives before giving their computers to the D.I. or selling them in garage sales).

I assume Church headquarters has tested and validated Eraser's functionality. This is important because we have run into cases where disk wiping tools perform wonderfully, up to a certain point in the disk, or wipes inconsistently. This is definitely an argument against picking some random wiping tool off the Internet, and argues for using the tool recommended by the Church. My office has tested and validated DBAN for use throughout our organization, but we're not the Church and who are we that you should trust us? ;-) If the Church has not extensively tested the disk wiping software that they recommend, then I would highly recommend such testing take place.

Just my $0.02 worth.

farwest
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thanks

Postby farwest » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:51 pm

Well once again my questions have been answered. I just get a little apprehensive when your going to wipe out a drive. On my personal computer I formatted a slave drive but it ended up being my C drive. That was a interesting but frustratiing situation.

Thanks Again


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