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First post, by eesz34

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Either its hard drive, or floppies.

I got a system with a shorted power supply and the best I can tell, it hadn't booted since the mid 90s. The hard drive had the original owner's resume, in a (easily breakable) password-protected Excel file. Complete with his full address, which was on a different continent than where I purchased it, and birth date.

Reply 1 of 49, by cyclone3d

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Source code for older wifi equipment.

The whole resume, letters, pictures, etc. from the previous owner is pretty common.

Indo have one old computer that has software that has to do with music rolls for player pianos. Still need to go through that one and back everything up.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 2 of 49, by eesz34

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cyclone3d wrote on 2022-04-26, 13:58:

Source code for older wifi equipment.

The whole resume, letters, pictures, etc. from the previous owner is pretty common.

Indo have one old computer that has software that has to do with music rolls for player pianos. Still need to go through that one and back everything up.

Source code for commercial equipment, now that's cool.

Yeah I know a resume isn't all that impressive, but I don't have much to pull from. I once picked up a dead laptop from someone's yard on trash pickup day. They obviously wanted someone to take it the way it was laying there, and it had immigration papers, photos, etc. But despite that laptop containing a lot of personal information, I don't consider that as interesting as a computer that apparently wasn't bootable for over 25 years yet managed to avoid e-waste. And had just enough information to explain how it made it here from the UK.

Reply 3 of 49, by BitWrangler

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Back in 00, I got a laptop with some contractors data for an AMD fab... I had to delete it due to not being in that abundant storage for pennies space that we were just a year or two later.

Then a couple of years back, I found digital photos of a trip to Florida, with shots of the last space shuttle launch.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 4 of 49, by Sunoo

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I recently picked up a desktop that turned out to belong to DEC’s legal department as they were merging with Compaq. I kinda wish it had more, but there was one Word document about documents that needed to be provided to the FTC and DOJ, which I found to be pretty neat to see.

Reply 5 of 49, by kolderman

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Old SD Card (close enough) - never broadcast long raw interview with a B-list celebrity.

Old Mac - video and music clips for some unknown music band, in the format for some ancient video/audio editing software that no longer exists (could view as it was still installed).

Some old 286 that came from a physics professor - heaps of scientific papers in various stages (mix of LATEX and DOC files) as well as seeming lab instrument control/calibration files and test results and other stuff I could not determine.

Reply 9 of 49, by chinny22

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Most resent PC was from a retired ship captain, had some interesting word docs on his thought on safety, etc.
Most my hardware comes from clients so it's only interesting to me, documents on long replaced systems.

I've never found anything work keeping after the initial poke around though

Reply 10 of 49, by RandomStranger

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All I always find is boring stuff. Wedding and baptism photos, some uninteresting company data and software. Sometimes a couple of games I already have, like Soko-ban and Warcraft 2.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 11 of 49, by Repo Man11

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The AT/Socket 7 system I rescued from a dumpster a couple of years ago had some rather candid photos of the former owner and his lady friend of the time (I deleted them of course).

"Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects." - Will Rogers

Reply 12 of 49, by BitWrangler

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What astounds me though, here, is that I've been through at least 50 machines/HDDs which have still had personal stuff on like resumes, random docs, sheets, decks, pics etc etc.... and only 1 had any porn. ... okay unless I also count one that was either used heavily for BBS or was a small BBS, which had swimsuit pics, maybe odd topless one in there.

edit: heh, the one I was most surprised that didn't have porn on it was a netbook from a yard sale where the couple seemed just a little too too friendly, we were sure they were swingers, but nope, tons of music videos, no porn.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 13 of 49, by chinny22

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I found porn on ex work PC, but it wasn't really a secret that porn wasn't thought of a big deal till late 2000's (it was basically a factory so mostly blue collar male workers) does seem strange though why would you want t look at porn while in the office?
I picked up 3 PC's off gumtree few years ago, the 2 newer ones (P4 and Core 2 from memory) had the HDD removed, but not the P3, I guess he figured anything on that was so out of date it didn't matter.
That had a few pics of his "lady friend" she probably didn't want random people to see.

but your right, mostly people seem to remember to delete "that" folder if nothing else!

Reply 14 of 49, by Unknown_K

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I picked up a Powerbook G4 that would not turn on until I removed the CMOS battery. Inside were pictures of some woman (GF, Wife, or model no idea). I delete it all.

Years ago on a craigslist find I snagged a Mac 9600 AVID system with external RAID drives still working that had a bunch of videos (looked like a school play).

For the most part I reformat and reinstall an OS from every machine I get being careful to look for rare drivers and software or at least serial numbers. Quite a few systems that still have HDs are malware infested messes which makes sense since the old gear tends to get passed down to kids before being sold or scrapped.

These days most machines have the HDs removed so looking over the last owners files will be a thing of the past.

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 15 of 49, by eesz34

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chinny22 wrote on 2022-04-27, 17:07:
I found porn on ex work PC, but it wasn't really a secret that porn wasn't thought of a big deal till late 2000's (it was basica […]
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I found porn on ex work PC, but it wasn't really a secret that porn wasn't thought of a big deal till late 2000's (it was basically a factory so mostly blue collar male workers) does seem strange though why would you want t look at porn while in the office?
I picked up 3 PC's off gumtree few years ago, the 2 newer ones (P4 and Core 2 from memory) had the HDD removed, but not the P3, I guess he figured anything on that was so out of date it didn't matter.
That had a few pics of his "lady friend" she probably didn't want random people to see.

but your right, mostly people seem to remember to delete "that" folder if nothing else!

Reminds me of when I worked as a computer guy in this engineering office around the turn of the millennium while I went to college. I'd go in on the weekends and install updates when nobody else was around. This one guy had his computer in the corner with the monitor turned away so the casual passerby couldn't see it. Somehow I found a few porn pictures, so I searched and found around 6,000 more. Oh, and the monitor screen was *really* dirty with fingerprints or....I don't know what. Eww..

Reply 16 of 49, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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I recently bought untested HDDs on Ebay for very cheap.
I was curious what's still on there, so I had a look and also scanned for deleted data. One HDD was from a charity organisation. Another was from a Counterstrike streamer. Others were not really remarkable, until I tested an old IDE drive.

Guess what I found? Yes, gigabytes of child pornography from up to 2010. Immediately called the cops. 15 minutes later they were standing in front of my door. They asked me to show them, what I found. I didn't had a closer look at the stuff. Just saw the filenames and thought it would be probably better to call the authorities. They had a quick look through the videos. "Yeah, that's enough."
They took all the drives, except the ones which I had already checked and overwritten with zeros. Might take a while, until I get them back. Should have continued to check the drives and call them after I had checked every disk.
Hope they find some data that leads back to the original owner. The seller probably isn't the one who downloaded the files. He's a scrap seller.

Reply 17 of 49, by gerry

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the older a computer gets the more interesting the mundane business stuff seems to become, a peek into history. a few letters and a spreadsheet from 2010 seems a bit dull, but from 1995 and it suddenly feels like digital archaeology!

Reply 18 of 49, by Tetrium

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I don't think I ever found anything interesting on a harddrive. The usual stuff like resumes, random data files, installed games and some holiday pics which were really completely uninteresting and bland as holiday pics could ever be.
Thank god I never found anything illegal or something questionable like porn. I never even found any kinds of porn actually.

Most drives I just delete without even bothering to look what was on there tbh.

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!

Reply 19 of 49, by Tetrium

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gerry wrote on 2022-05-19, 14:54:

the older a computer gets the more interesting the mundane business stuff seems to become, a peek into history. a few letters and a spreadsheet from 2010 seems a bit dull, but from 1995 and it suddenly feels like digital archaeology!

I have actually thought about this and I wouldn't be surprised if at some point in the future untouched old harddrive data could actually be seen as an archeological treasuretrove 😋

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!