Q. We're getting rid of our HP all-in-one printer and buying a new one. I know printers store a lot of our info and I would like to know how to erase it before we pass it on. Thanks!
-Paul in Las Vegas, Nevada, listens to Kim's national radio show on KXNT 100.5 FM/840 AM
A. Before you get rid of any electronic gadget, you should think about what information of yours it might be storing. It's especially critical to wipe computers, cellphones and tablets, but other gadgets you might not expect can store data as well, including printers. So, thank you for your good security question, Paul.
Standalone consumer printers don't actually have that much storage space, and it wipes when you turn off the unit. All-in-one printers have a bit more internal storage to support the scanner, copier and fax features, so it might store documents a bit longer, although probably not very many. That means there's a little less to worry about than commercial copiers that have hard drives.
Tip within a tip: When it's time to get a new printer, trust this advice. Purchasing an EcoTank Printer from Epson will cut down the cost you're spending on ink over time. Epson EcoTank printers come with two years of ink already included, so you can finally kiss those annoying ink cartridges goodbye. Click here for more information on Epson's line of affordable EcoTank Printers, and start saving on ink today.
So in cases where your printer dies, you don't need to worry. No hacker is going to pull the memory chips and reconstruct whatever data might be on them if any. Just be sure to remove any memory cards from the card-reader slots before throwing it out.
If your printer is still in working order, however, then keep reading for instructions on how to know if it's storing your information and how to wipe it.