A question we get asked often is “Does my printer / copier have a hard drive?”. This is a great question to ask and even THE question to ask especially when you are disposing of a device from your office.
Copier hard drives can hold all sorts of information on them, print jobs, fax jobs, company information and user information. There is more stored on a hard drive that could hurt your company than you may realize. It is best to have this drive removed from your device and destroyed by a company that will certify the destruction.
How do you know if your printer or copier has a hard drive in it to destroy?
Look on the Datasheet
Finding the Datasheet
From what I found with my time in the managed print industry, the quickest and easiest way to find out if a printer or copier has a hard drive is through the datasheet. A Datasheet, sometimes called a spec sheet or a brochure, is a document released by the manufacture of the device with information regarding that machines recommended capabilities, volume and installed hardware.
You can find this by searching Google. I recommend the following query:
“[[ Manufacturer name ]] [[ printer or copier name and/or identifying number ]] datasheet”
This formula can look a little odd, but to put it in practical terms, it would look like:
“HP E87660 datasheet” or “Xerox AltaLink C8070 datasheet”
Where to Look on the Datasheet
Once you have the datasheet / spec sheet / brochure opened, the information you’re looking for is kept towards the end of the document. The last page, or last few pages, will become a sort of grid with all the information about the device presented in bland technical terms. The left-hand side of this grid will have a column of section headers. Scroll through this until you find the header “Hard Drive” or Hard Disk". This section will let you know the details about that devices drive.
Xerox AltaLink C8070
If there is no “Hard Drive” section, you can be fairly sure your device is hard drive free. I say fairly sure because I am unfamiliar with every manufacturer and the information they include in their datasheets. I have not run into one yet that hasn’t included this section if their device has a hard drive installed, but I cannot say for sure that this will always be the case.
The Difference Between Memory and Hard Drive
One thing to keep in mind when reviewing a datasheet is the difference between ‘memory’ and ‘hard drive’.
Memory refers to a machines random access memory, or RAM. A very basic explanation of RAM is temporary memory. This does not store long term data, but instead only holds operating data for functions currently in use. Once the function is complete, the RAM is cleared of that memory. It is perfectly fine to leave this in your printer or copier when you dispose of it.
A hard drive stores long term information including fax jobs, print jobs, user information and more. This is what you will want to remove when disposing of a printer or copier.
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