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Strangest thing found on harddrives

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Reply 21 of 33, by Jasin Natael

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I used to work for a fairly large pawn shop. I was in charge of "refurbishing" all of the electronics. People flat out didn't care what they left on their drives. The worst thing I ever found was illegal pornography.
That was turned over to the police and that douchebag went to prison.

Most of the time it was run of the mill homebrew porn, and pirated movies/music/games.

Reply 22 of 33, by appiah4

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In early 2000s I bought a used HDD that wasn't cleanly wiped and I was able to unformat out of curiosity. The IRC logs I found on that thing.. I would write about them if I believed anyone would believe me.

I've also come across porn that scarred me for life. On multiple occasions.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 23 of 33, by Fujoshi-hime

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Child pornography. ...And then I hired a lawyer to help facilitate turning it, and any documentation of the purchase, over to the police. (Never talk to the cops without a lawyer, even if you didn't do anything wrong).

My advice is to just zero drives without looking inside. =X

FYI, the drive was old, purchased in a P3 laptop from a flea market so nothing ever came of it or at least no one contacted me again after. The flea market stall owner probably knew nothing of where the laptop came form.

Reply 24 of 33, by sf78

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A company's bankruptcy statement, assorted business mails, accounting info, full OneDrive with active phone sync (family/business photos) etc. Very strange that someone would just give away a laptop with all this and not even wipe or remove the HDD.

Reply 25 of 33, by kolderman

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I bought an old mac scsi external hdd. It must have been from a music producer or something cuz it had heaps of video and audio clips from some terrible campy 90s band I had never heard of. Think B52s but way worse. It also actually had some software that I could use to view them cuz they were not in some normal format. The hdd died not long after being resurrected from a 20 year sleep, probably for the better.

Reply 26 of 33, by Cyberdyne

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You had a offline hard drive from an old flea market laptop, and you hired a lawyer and called the police ... overreacting a little bit.
You could just zero out the drive or if you are too paranoid, then just break the drive, that's about it.

Fujoshi-hime wrote on 2021-05-05, 22:43:

Child pornography. ...And then I hired a lawyer to help facilitate turning it, and any documentation of the purchase, over to the police. (Never talk to the cops without a lawyer, even if you didn't do anything wrong).

My advice is to just zero drives without looking inside. =X

FYI, the drive was old, purchased in a P3 laptop from a flea market so nothing ever came of it or at least no one contacted me again after. The flea market stall owner probably knew nothing of where the laptop came form.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 27 of 33, by appiah4

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Cyberdyne wrote on 2021-05-06, 12:04:

You had a offline hard drive from an old flea market laptop, and you hired a lawyer and called the police ... overreacting a little bit.
You could just zero out the drive or if you are too paranoid, then just break the drive, that's about it.

Fujoshi-hime wrote on 2021-05-05, 22:43:

Child pornography. ...And then I hired a lawyer to help facilitate turning it, and any documentation of the purchase, over to the police. (Never talk to the cops without a lawyer, even if you didn't do anything wrong).

My advice is to just zero drives without looking inside. =X

FYI, the drive was old, purchased in a P3 laptop from a flea market so nothing ever came of it or at least no one contacted me again after. The flea market stall owner probably knew nothing of where the laptop came form.

I think the point was to get the offender charged and locked up. As a father, I can relate.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 28 of 33, by creepingnet

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kolderman wrote on 2021-05-06, 09:55:

I bought an old mac scsi external hdd. It must have been from a music producer or something cuz it had heaps of video and audio clips from some terrible campy 90s band I had never heard of. Think B52s but way worse. It also actually had some software that I could use to view them cuz they were not in some normal format. The hdd died not long after being resurrected from a 20 year sleep, probably for the better.

Good thing I did not go to me - I like the B-52's, so I would have probably "archived" it - then posted it all to YouTube for the humor value. Kind of like what I plan to do with the "Using MS-DOS" VHS I have that's ridiculously cheesy and looks like it was made by a kid trying to learn to use Video Toaster and a Camcorder.

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My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet
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Reply 29 of 33, by Fujoshi-hime

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-05-06, 12:28:

I think the point was to get the offender charged and locked up. As a father, I can relate.

The point was to ensure I wasn't remotely suspect for anything. While it was rather unlikely anyone would have noticed with how old the laptop was, at that moment I was unquestionably in possession of child pornography. You call it 'Overreacting' I call it 'Covering your ass 100%'. The lawyer only cost a few hundred dollars since it was a one time deal. I think he billed me for 3hrs total.

Reply 30 of 33, by gerry

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-05-05, 12:01:

Most useful was from an add for 5 Amstrad's and a 486 off Freecycle last year, Bloke was helping clear out his deceased neighbours house so it was given "as is" lots of word docs showed he was a retired ship captain.
Few months later an Amstrad PCW came up from freecycle. I asked about it's history and the guy said it came from a retired Captain, (I did suspect this would be the case) so those 2 machines are reunited 😀

Most interesting though was one of my own drives from the 90's had some useful game patches on it 😀

that's kind of sad in a way, part of a life remaining in word docs, but interesting that you found out more to confirm it

I'm glad i never found anything suspect as i'm not sure where that leaves the 'finder' in legal terms.

the advice to wipe the drive immediately is probably good but then sometimes there are convenient drivers and so on on the disc

other than that nothing strange really, just the amusing remnants of previous attempts to upgrade software (multiple version not quite coexisting, dlls missing, registry bursting at the seams, that kind of thing), and some vaguely nostalgic old business software like laplink appearing strangely out of its era

i think now i'd probably just wipe it though

Reply 31 of 33, by maxtherabbit

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Fujoshi-hime wrote on 2021-05-06, 16:20:
appiah4 wrote on 2021-05-06, 12:28:

I think the point was to get the offender charged and locked up. As a father, I can relate.

The point was to ensure I wasn't remotely suspect for anything. While it was rather unlikely anyone would have noticed with how old the laptop was, at that moment I was unquestionably in possession of child pornography. You call it 'Overreacting' I call it 'Covering your ass 100%'. The lawyer only cost a few hundred dollars since it was a one time deal. I think he billed me for 3hrs total.

and if you had simply 0 wiped the drive then and there how could anyone ever have known?

I get the point about wanting to charge the scum that made it, but since it came from a flea market that's not likely anyway

Reply 32 of 33, by Jasin Natael

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-05-06, 12:28:
Cyberdyne wrote on 2021-05-06, 12:04:

You had a offline hard drive from an old flea market laptop, and you hired a lawyer and called the police ... overreacting a little bit.
You could just zero out the drive or if you are too paranoid, then just break the drive, that's about it.

Fujoshi-hime wrote on 2021-05-05, 22:43:

Child pornography. ...And then I hired a lawyer to help facilitate turning it, and any documentation of the purchase, over to the police. (Never talk to the cops without a lawyer, even if you didn't do anything wrong).

My advice is to just zero drives without looking inside. =X

FYI, the drive was old, purchased in a P3 laptop from a flea market so nothing ever came of it or at least no one contacted me again after. The flea market stall owner probably knew nothing of where the laptop came form.

I think the point was to get the offender charged and locked up. As a father, I can relate.

Indeed.

Reply 33 of 33, by shamino

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sf78 wrote on 2021-05-06, 09:48:

A company's bankruptcy statement, assorted business mails, accounting info, full OneDrive with active phone sync (family/business photos) etc. Very strange that someone would just give away a laptop with all this and not even wipe or remove the HDD.

Not many people know how to wipe a hard drive unfortunately, but you would think they'd at least make a naive attempt to reformat or just delete their personal files from the filesystem. That doesn't really remove the data but at least it shows that they tried. It's surprising how few people even do that.