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School District securely cleans PC drives, donates to students and faculty

Storage Alert By Deni Connor, Network World
July 26, 2010 12:05 AM ET
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Developments of the week in storage

Don Childress feels good about using Jetico's BCWipe Total WipeOut to help give back to his community and reduce unnecessary electronic waste.

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Childress, IT director for Fannindel ISD in Ladonia, Texas, had a bunch of PCs that needed to be decommissioned – their drives needed to be securely wiped clean before they could be donated to school children and faculty.

Previously, when a PC aged and was going to be replaced with a newer PC, Childress and other employees removed the drives and consigned the PCs to the junk heap.

"What we had been doing was physically removing the hard drive from the computers so that there was no chance of data leakage, and that made the computers physically useless for anyone," says Childress. "They'd end up sitting around in closets and eventually a local junk man would buy the whole lot of them and no one would get any benefit out of it."

But, Childress saw a different use for the defunct PCs – giving them to children and faculty without PCs at home. "We wanted to let somebody take those PCs and have a useful computer but at the same time be confident that no school data was leaving the building," says Childress.

He didn't want to just give the PCs away unaltered – he wanted to cleanse them, install an open source operating system and office application – and so he looked for a better solution.

Childress found Jetico's BCWipe Total WipeOut and promptly ordered it. The software, which he could easily download and start using in minutes, looked like it would do what he wanted it to do – wipe clean the hard disk of any PC at his location.
With an enterprise license of BCWipe Total WipeOut, Childress was equipped with a bootable disk that allowed him to wipe unlimited PCs.

Now Childress has been wiping batches of computers with BCWipe Total WipeOut, all of which have been donated to the community and saved from the junk heap – a solution that securely protects private data, is environmentally friendly and benefits the community. He created a bootable USB drive, and once the flash drive has been inserted into the computer, it starts the wiping sequence.

"Once you start the program it shows a command prompt-like screen that tells you what percentage of each pass it has completed," says Childress. "It then does some verification and waits for you to restart the computer, which comes up with 'no system disk found' so you can install whatever you want."

Childress is happy to add BCWipe Total WipeOut to his arsenal of tools at Fannindel ISD. "The software works like it says it does."

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Deni Connor is principal analyst for Storage Strategies NOW and host of both the Masters of Storage and Masters of Servers Solution Centers.

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