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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the link-free-cloth-and-a-.45 dept.

Privacy 113

UrsaMajor987 (3604759) writes I have a Asus Transformer tablet that I dropped on the floor. There is no obvious sign of damage but It will no longer boot. Good excuse to get a newer model. I intend to sell it for parts (it comes with an undamaged keyboard) or maybe just toss it. I want to remove all my personal data. I removed the flash memory card but what about the other storage? I know how to wipe a hard drive, but how do you wipe a tablet? If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?

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Two Steps (-1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 2 months ago | (#47552089)

Encrypt the data, then factory reset.

Re:Two Steps (4, Insightful)

Sowelu (713889) | about 2 months ago | (#47552131)

The poster said it won't boot, so they're selling it for parts. Some of those parts might still have data, and must be identified physically. Storage is awful tiny these days, so unless you know what you're looking for, you could miss a long term cache.

Re:Two Steps (5, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47552445)

Built-in storage is going to be an IC or two that are soldered to a PCB. If the device won't boot, the only really safe way to delete the data is to dismantle the unit and totally destroy the board and make sure all ICs are broken.

Re:Two Steps (4, Insightful)

multimediavt (965608) | about 2 months ago | (#47552817)

Built-in storage is going to be an IC or two that are soldered to a PCB. If the device won't boot, the only really safe way to delete the data is to dismantle the unit and totally destroy the board and make sure all ICs are broken.

Bingo, give this man a cigar. With modern NVRAM the only way to be sure it's safe is to destroy it. Yes, really! So my advice to anyone parting with a personal electronic device is, "Pulverise it with a hammer on a concrete slab." Becuase the money you get back from its sale will not offset identity theft or whatever other havoc can be delivered from data left on the device in NVRAM. I still have ALL my old phones and other devices from the last twelve years and will eventually destroy them. Don't get on the recycle kick either. I know, there are some things in there that would be better recycled but any possible data on the device trumps environmental concerns. I don't go through a phone every year so it's not a lot of devices for me.

Re:Two Steps (3, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 months ago | (#47553199)

Interestingly, a few years ago I had an iOS device that got dropped in water and no longer functioned. I took it apart and pulverized the electronics, as I figured there was no way I could guarantee the data on there was inaccessible.

I took the baggie of pulverized parts to the local cell phone drop for recycling; got a few odd looks as I dropped it in.

Then I took the case backing (the bit with the serial number engraved into it) to Apple for a $50 store credit. The same credit they would have given me had I given them the entire device. That's probably as good a deal as I would have got from anywhere, even if I had kept everything intact.

The best part? I kept the LCD screen, as it still worked just fine.

Re:Two Steps (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47553319)

My advice is to destroy the part with the storage ICs, not the whole device which probably has totally functional parts which could be used to fix another broken device (casing, display, buttons, etc).

Re:Two Steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47553945)

Fix it or have it fixed, the wipe the data and then sell it. You'll not only be able to clear your stuff out, but you'll get a lot more for a working device. If you're selling for parts, sorry to say you will only get about $25 USD for it.

Re:Two Steps (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#47555543)

buy a case, glue it to the tablet in the form of a triangle, and sell it as a doorstop.

Re:Two Steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552167)

How? It doesn't boot.

Re:Two Steps (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552191)

Wow. I mean, I don't read the articles often, but you didn't even read the summary. Slashdot commentators have reached a whole new level of laziness.

The tablet won't boot. How do you expect him to factory reset it?

Re:Two Steps (0)

Serenissima (1210562) | about 2 months ago | (#47552225)

From TFS: "If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do? "

Re:Two Steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552545)

From TFS: "If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do? "

Whoops! Guess I was wrong!

Oh wait, you left off part of TFS that completely proves you wrong. Here, I'll just add them back in.

I have a Asus Transformer tablet [...] It will no longer boot. [...] If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?

Yes, the final question may not have been asked by the original person, but that does not matter. Within the context of TFS, we must assume that "will not boot" is still in play.

"But it says 'intact' you moron."

That just means no desoldering / putting a drillbit through components.

Re:Two Steps (1)

MondoGordo (2277808) | about 2 months ago | (#47552577)

Truly awesome sig ..

Re:Two Steps (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | about 2 months ago | (#47553377)

Definitely my favorite internet quote! :D

Re:Two Steps (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47552463)

Kicking the tablet with his boots won't reset a factory, what are you talking about?

Re:Two Steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552983)

On newer tablets, one can run blkdiscard on the device or fstrim on the mounted filesystem. There are even rooted apps that do this on a scheduled basis.

I'd encrypt /data, factory reset, run fstrim on /data, the cache, and /system, repeat again, then flash a new ROM on the device. Not 100%, but barring a thief with a fab plant that can decap chips, the data will be gone.

However, tablets don't sell for much, especially broken ones, so I'd probably just destroy the motherboard (sans battery), and recycle everything else.

One step only, thanks to Asus (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 2 months ago | (#47554911)

One step: Trash it. The Asus Transformer is worthless junk, and has been ever since Asus trashed it with a hopelessly bug-riddled Ice Cream Sandwich update that turned a useful tool into something that randomly rebooted multiple times a day, crashed interminably, and for many months until the bug was fixed (pretty much the only bug they *did* fix in their ICS release), often got stuck in a boot loop that would drain the battery -- sometimes to the point where the tablet couldn't even be charged back up.

Some of these issues were somewhat ameliorated by third-party firmware, but none was able to actually *fix* them because the bugs were in sections of code for which no source was ever provided. All they did was apply bandaid fix after bandaid fix on top of a gaping wound.

Asus provided essentially zero support for this nightmare, which they followed up by releasing another tablet whose hardware was so fundamentally flawed that the in-device GPS could never work, and in many cases the Bluetooth / Wi-Fi traces weren't even connected to their antennas. You buy Asus, you get what you deserve. You keep Asus, you keep a headache that belongs in a landfill somewhere. (Or better still, dumped in the CEO's driveway.)

Re:One step only, thanks to Asus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47555133)

I currently have two Asus Transformers that I have never had a single problem with. I also use a Asus laptop that I have never had a problem with. My guess is you are a Apple Drone who hates anything that does not start with an "i".

Re:One step only, thanks to Asus (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47555165)

ASUS is actually a pretty crap brand now. I was buying their hardware since back in the 90s when they made the best. Now everything they make just seems to have problems. My Nexus 7 died suddenly, for no reason, an ASUS motherboard fried itself and my ASUS notebook has the tendency to corrupt the screen and then crash. None ever suffered any physical damage or abuse, they just burned out on their own.

And before you call me an Apple drone too, I own a self built PC and an Alienware laptop. Wouldn't be caught dead with an Apple piece of shit.

Advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552113)

I don't see how the machine can be wiped if it will not boot. My advice is to pry it open and physically destroy the memory chips. It isn't worth selling.

Re:Advice (3, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47552473)

Parts could still be worth something if he can disassemble the unit without breaking it. If the LCD/touch screen is intact, someone could buy it on eBay/etc to fix his own broken unit.

Re:Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47553965)

Not really. They could be useful for someone needing parts, but there is no way he's going to get any significant amount selling broken electronics. If it were me, I'd do as GP said and pitch the rest in the trash. The time, effort and shipping costs will more than negate any return.

Re:Advice (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about 2 months ago | (#47556629)

A quick search on Ebay shows used tablet screens going for around 20-30 bucks.

Nuke it from orbit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552117)

It's the only way to be sure!

It has 2GB internal memory. (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 months ago | (#47552125)

There is 2GB of memory for the OS, personal settings, apps, etc. If you can not boot the device, you can not access this memory to clear it. You may be SOL.

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (3)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47552319)

When you say "it doesn't boot", do you mean it does nothing when you try to turn it on? If you can get into the bootloader menu it is often possible to wipe the device from there, or at least do a factory reset and make it bootable again.

It might also be worth trying a USB connection. Even if the screen doesn't work it might get you an ADB connection, which can be used for wiping.

Otherwise the only option is a hammer. You could possibly remove the motherboard and sell the screen, battery and other bits. The memory chips have to die though.

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (1)

Zmobie (2478450) | about 2 months ago | (#47552605)

I agree, not sure if you could jury rig it to get an active connection to a PC (potentially it may be booting just the screen is out or loose etc.? I have seen that with other devices before such that it looks like it won't boot). A lot really depends on why it is doing this. If it just flat won't come on at all (100% know that it is never getting there) I don't believe there is a way to wipe the data.

If OP just really wants to, best bet I would say is open it up and try to fix it. Not really losing anything if you have to wipe data before selling it, because otherwise as AmiMoJO put it, only other option is a hammer.

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47553181)

Belt Sander

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (3)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 2 months ago | (#47552651)

Otherwise the only option is a hammer.

Only option? I beg to differ. My preferred method is thermite.

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47553431)

Nah. Nuke it from orbit; it's the only way to be sure.

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47554845)

So, our paper shredder is rate to turn what you put into it into small pieces, a tables or a computer, no problem.

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47555607)

Otherwise the only option is a hammer.

Only option? I beg to differ. My preferred method is thermite.

Which is illegal.

Re: It has 2GB internal memory. (1)

emil (695) | about 2 months ago | (#47554189)

Is Volume-Down--Power the universal Android boot to firmware/bootloader? It has been on everything I've ever used. Can the original poster get to the bootloader or fastboot?

Re:It has 2GB internal memory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552947)

He could just microwave the whole thing.
Privacy guaranteed.

may be easy to fix so you can wipe it or keep it (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47552215)

may be easy to fix so you can wipe it or keep it.

But if you can't fix it do a office space beat down to it!

Re:may be easy to fix so you can wipe it or keep i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47554183)

If he records the beat down and monetizes it on YouTube, he'll probably make more money than trying to sell it for parts.

Does the PC connection work at all? (5, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 months ago | (#47552217)

Do you get the ADB device to register if you plug it in to a PC via USB and turn it on? That would be your only hope to wiping it assuming the screen is damaged but the SoC/flash still works to some extent. Also, have you tried opening it up? A similar thing happened to my Nexus device, and after popping the back cover off it turns out that the drop caused the battery to slide to one side, and come unplugged. Relocating the battery, adding a little more double sided tape, and snapping it all back together had it good as new in under 5 minutes.

Re:Does the PC connection work at all? (1)

sandmaninator (884661) | about 2 months ago | (#47553383)

Exactly what happened to my first Nexus 7 though I didn't realize it at the time. Same thing happened to its replacement but, I opened the replacement and fixed the sliding battery problem with some foam. Has not been a problem since.

I wouldn't keep the hardware intact. (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 2 months ago | (#47552221)

If you really want to sell it for parts, disassemble it and destroy the main circuit board, or at least grind or pry off the chips with nonvolatile storage.

Any general treatment (heat, overvoltage, etc.) will surely destroy the rest of the phone before you can be sure it's cleared the nonvolatile storage.

5 options (3, Funny)

Andrew Lindh (137790) | about 2 months ago | (#47552237)

If it won't boot and you can't erase the on-board flash then try:
  1) Sell it for parts and hope someone does not fix it and access your data (use a sticky note to kindly ask them to erase it for you)
  2) Dump it at your local E-waste center and hope some does not pick it up out of the pile (and see #1)
  3) Microwave it to fry the chips and hope you don't burn down your house (please upload the video)
  4) Use it for target practice (9mm or larger please, full auto would be best) and then crush it with a steam roller (once again, please upload the video)
  5) To meet your non-destruct goal, if you have skills: unsolder the flash chips, erase them in a programmer, reinstall the blank chips.

Or as pointed out from before (but it's too late), encrypt your data from the start and reset the keys.

Re:5 options (1)

Andrew Lindh (137790) | about 2 months ago | (#47552259)

I guess one more... try to access it directly from the USB using a computer and special drivers and software designed to reflash a non-booting tablet... (ie. rooting your system).

Re:5 options (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 months ago | (#47552443)

I guess one more... try to access it directly from the USB using a computer and special drivers and software designed to reflash a non-booting tablet... (ie. rooting your system).

Access via ADB doesnt require root to get to the point where you can confirm/deny the existence of functioning memory. It looks like the Transformer line has an out of band update method by installing a microSD card with the flash zip, and doing a startup with certain buttons pressed. If it can be coaxed through this process (even with a dead screen) it would wipe any previous user data. Watching the device state via the USB port and ADB would be helpful to know if the device is likely to respond in that kind of scenario.

Re:5 options (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47552337)

Option 6: Slag the tablet. Data destruction assured

remove logic board (1)

lp86 (1944282) | about 2 months ago | (#47552253)

Since you can't power the device on, your only choice is to remove the logic board that has the flash memory on it. Then you can still sell the screen, cover, battery, etc.

If you want to sell it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552267)

I'd make it look like some newer, thinner, model by re-formatting the entire device with a hammer, until it's paper thin.
As an added benefit, your data will be protected somewhat also.

Personally (1)

Redbehrend (3654433) | about 2 months ago | (#47552275)

I would take it apart and fix it. Usually it's a plug or cable that comes undone or a chip pops off. Check the internal battery connection also! The board itself shouldn't actually break. If something needs to be re soldered a shop will do if for like 10 bucks. Even if the display doesn't boot the system will and you can connect in. Worst case you destroy the chips by hand... Fixing it if it's clear where it broke inside is usually faster.

Trash it ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552299)

if you're that paranoid about someone finding your naked pics, then dont sell it ! why would you even risk it for 50$ of parts ? even if it was 200$, is that more important than someone getting your personal information ?... i never sell old hard-drives or cell-phones, they get destroyed.

remove the battery, and throw it in a campfire.

To answer the question directly (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 months ago | (#47552309)

"If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?"

To me these are mutually exclusive. If I was feeling especially paranoid, I would probably hurl the thing into a cauldron of molten lava, because, you know, the definition of being especially paranoid is an intense fear of others invading our privacy or being out to get you.

Disposing of my tablet by giving it to another person is wholly incompatible with your premise of me feeling especially paranoid.

Re:To answer the question directly (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 months ago | (#47552527)

If I was feeling especially paranoid, I would probably hurl the thing into a cauldron of molten lava

The device cannot be truly destroyed by any means we currently possess. The flames of an ancient wyrm could perhaps unmake it, but such dragons are not to be found in these parts. I suggest gathering a fellowship to carry the tablet to the mountain Amon Amarth, in the dark pits of the land of Mordor, and cast it into the fires of Mt. Doom in which it was forged. Only then can we be sure that it is unmade, completely and utterly, and will trouble us no longer.

Re:To answer the question directly (2)

elgatozorbas (783538) | about 2 months ago | (#47554089)

With all due respect: why is this modded insightful instead of the funny it was probably aimed at? Especially because the device can be destroyed by means currently available, such as the volcalo mentioned above. And simpler means too.

Re:To answer the question directly (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 months ago | (#47555031)

I don't know, but I'll take it. It did get one Funny, that was just outweighed by the two Insightfuls.

I'm also kicking myself for not ending it with "Who will bear this burden? Who will take the tablet into Mordor?", so we could get a nice group-quoting going on.

Re:To answer the question directly (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 months ago | (#47555733)

"Funny" doesn't count towards your karma score, so some people like to reward otherwise funny posts with ratings that do grant karma.

Re:To answer the question directly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552629)

"...because, you know, the definition of being especially paranoid is an intense fear of others invading our privacy or being out to get you.

If you were especially paranoid, you wouldn't be using a device that intentionally invades your privacy, to generate ad revenue dollars for the operating system's parent company...

Re:To answer the question directly (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 months ago | (#47556101)

Good point.

Re:To answer the question directly (1)

erikscott (1360245) | about 2 months ago | (#47552639)

On an ASUS Transformer, the keyboard is where most of the value is, along with the oh-so-strange fifteen (15) volt charger. Sell the keyboard and charger, grind the tablet to powder. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:To answer the question directly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47553523)

"If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?"

I think it's time for the "if you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" argument.

Advice: Android Device Manager (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552313)

Try signing into https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager. If the only thing wrong is the screen you might be able to erase your data.

Re:Advice: Android Device Manager (1)

Zmobie (2478450) | about 2 months ago | (#47552663)

Does that actually do a secure rewrite though? I haven't honestly looked at how the device manager does the remote wipe, but I would guess it is just like deleting or doing a factory reset and the data is still recoverable through standard computer forensic software.

Re:Advice: Android Device Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47554399)

No, it does nothing but prevent the device from having access to your Google account. Everything on the tablet will remain on the tablet.

Re:Advice: Android Device Manager (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 months ago | (#47554831)

I guess it's down to whether you're still using the 'stock' ROM or not but wouldn't wiping the partitions via Recovery suffice?

(Probably a quick-format so the ones and zeros are still there?)

Depends on how broken it is... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47552421)

If it's just a screen connection issue, ADB/fastboot should be enough to wipe any internal storage good and hard.

If it's more broken than that, you'll have to go inside. If something has come loose that you can put back into place, you win. Otherwise, you can either pray for a friendly JTAG connection or physically destroy the flash chips.

Hammer Time! (2)

jtara (133429) | about 2 months ago | (#47552433)

The subject says it all.

Find the flash chip soldered to the board. Smash it. Smash it good!

Re:Hammer Time! (3, Funny)

jtara (133429) | about 2 months ago | (#47552441)

Sometimes you can get the NSA to help you with this...

Re:Hammer Time! (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about 2 months ago | (#47552841)

Sometimes you can get the NSA to help you with this...

Uhhh, no, the NSA would rather you NOT do this, SMASH SMASH SMASH SMASH! They can't get the goods on you if you pulverise the chips.

Re:Hammer Time! (1)

jtara (133429) | about 2 months ago | (#47553287)

NSA's British equivalent observed this procedure being done by employees of The Guardian.

Sometimes they stuff you have.

Sometimes they don't want anyone else to have stuff you have...

Selling for parts (2)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 2 months ago | (#47552461)

Just a quick note. You probably won't make much on the proceeds for a sale for parts. Used tablet parts don't fetch very much on the open market. If the tablet is non-working, there is no guarantee which parts work and which don't. Taking tablets apart is difficult and time-consuming, so there is a lot of labor involved. Also, due to the ways that tablets tend to be assembled (lots of epoxies and thin plastics), it is very easy to damage the parts during disassembly.

That's not paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552465)

If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?

If you're worried about the data leaking out and you can't use the device, the options for a "especially paranoid" person are:
a) Ensure that it's acceptable for the next user to have the data.
b) Destroy the device to make data recovery impossible. An oxyacetylene torch should be reasonably effective and quick.

WTF is this doing on a tech site? (0)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 months ago | (#47552477)

If you can't boot it, you can't delete the data stored on it. How difficult is that concept?

The only way you can clear it now is with a shotgun.

Same procedure if it does work. People say "encrypt then wipe" but how do you know what's going on behind the scenes when you do that? You don't. You assume it's doing what you want but you can't know that unless you go over the code. If you really care about security, destroy the device when you're done with it. Bash it good and grind the pieces to powder.

File system encryption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552493)

If you had file system encryption enabled, you're safe. "If you were feeling especially paranoid" you probably did have encryption enabled. If not and the tablet indeed can't be made to boot, then I think you're hosed.

Pro-Tip: Most security/privacy problems can be mitigated ahead of time, but only rarely after the fact.

Just so you're clear on this.... (4, Insightful)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about 2 months ago | (#47552561)

"Will no longer boot" does not go along with "no obvious sign of damage."

Re:Just so you're clear on this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47554841)

How are the two connected? "Will no longer boot" does not go along with "no obvious sign of damage." If the boot sequence isn't going, then you either have 'broken wire' or the boot software got wacked. I had to flash the boot software on my router because the boot software was corrupted. Re-flash the firmware, and its been booting for several years, "No obvious sign of damage". You got that right. Because there is no damage, except for one bit that flipped in the firmware chip. So re-flash the boot firmware and you are good. Gawd, quit thinking like a carpenter and start thinking like an electrical engineer! "Take a hammer to it": bad, "Take a JTAG to it": good.

Re:Just so you're clear on this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47555037)

I don't know if you're just stupid or what, but when you press the power button the device should boot up. If that doesn't happen, then it is a very obvious sign of damage.

flashboot (1)

c0d3r (156687) | about 2 months ago | (#47552675)

Lookup the flashboot and adb commands from the ADK. Also download the adb driver from the vendor.

Teardown! (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#47552695)

Look for the appropriate iFixit teardown page, then open it up! If the glass isn't obviously cracked, maybe something inside just came loose. You didn't say what model you have, but the first comment on the Asus Transformer Infinity TF700 [ifixit.com] teardown mentions an internal power switch next to the battery connector (step 15 picture 2), maybe that could have bumped itself off.

WillItBlend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552721)

If you dropped it and it no longer works, you're pretty much at an impasse.

You have three options:
1) open it and remove the parts you wish to sell, and then shred the PCB with the flash memory on it
2) open it, and unsolder the flash memory, then destroy just that.
3) willitblend. problem solved, but it won't have any resale value :)

Re:WillItBlend (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47552881)

3, depending on the ad revenue, might get you a new tablet.

It depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552771)

Asus Tablets are notorious for fragility problems with their power connectors.

If this is what did your tablet in then it might be possible to repair it - either DIY or at a repair shop.

Alernatively, the digitizer could have cracked, if you have a spare (or if you know someone at a repair shop),
you could put it on temporarily and see if you could pull off the data. (or you could also just repair it)

Otherwise, at the level of miniaturization we now see on tablets, it is pretty much impossible
to desolder/resolder anything and expect it to work unless you have a major electronics lab.
Treat anything that is not socketed as all part of one indivisible component - the motherboard.
If that includes the memory, then you may as well crush it to be sure it's not retrievable.

If you want to be a little more environmentally conscious,
first identify the memory and crush that, then send the rest for recycling.

low end Android tablets now $59 (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 months ago | (#47552785)

I was perusing the back-to-school sales in the Sunday papers and saw some new Android tablets listed for $59. I think they were the early 7" models 8GB and Android 4.2. I see such models even cheaper online.

Re:low end Android tablets now $59 (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47552899)

When did anyone ask for advice on buying a new tablet?

Re: low end Android tablets now $59 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47554365)

If brand new (albeit last gen) tablets are $60, how much are you going to get for a second-hand broken one, and is that tiny handful of dollars worth the risk that you didn't quite wipe it? Personally, I think the chances of someone actually stealing your identity if you wipe the storage the easy way are minimal, but for the $20 bucks you might get for it, fuck it, stomp it til the chips are dust.

Re: low end Android tablets now $59 (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 months ago | (#47554837)

Will recycling centres still accept your stomped-on dusty chips?

Security for the paranoid is one thing, being eco-friendly in terms of rare-earth contamination of landfill is another.

Re: low end Android tablets now $59 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47555621)

Buying a broken pre-owned unit allows the purchaser to butcher it for parts to repair their own unit. You must be a typical Apple fan, buy a new iThing when the existing one merely needs a part replaced.

Secure Recycle it. (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | about 2 months ago | (#47552865)

1) You won't Get dick for parts (unless you part it our yourself, and basically only the screens, battery and speakers are worth any cash)

2) The potential crook gets just about everything he would need to make your life a living hell in either ID theft or flat out harassment.

There are recycle depots that will shred the system board to verify secure data destruction. It might cost a little, but it's better than paying to monitor your credit score for a few years.

Load up the Android Dev environment, and connect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552891)

Load up the Android dev environment, and plug in your "non-booting" android tablet. Not booting can mean many things:
- screen no longer connected(system booting, but screen display not working)
- screen displays and boot halts part way
- no boot, no screen, no heat, no life.

Suggestion:
* connect to the Android dev and see if the device shows up. If it does:
- backup data files.
- un-associate the device with your accounts(GooglePlus, Facebook, netflix, amazon, etc.)(not exhaustive list)
- filling all available space with a bulk file of zeros.
- reflash the firmware
- fill with zeros again, if you are paranoid
- reflash the firmware again
- sell the device.

If the device does not show up, then to ensure your data doesn't fall into the wrong hands, remove the onboard flash chip(s). Failing that, you are rolling the dice selling it unwiped, as someone will be able to recover data from it.

Ignoring the broken unit, here's an answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552939)

I've generally found that a factory reset in settings >> backup and restore still leaves a lot of personal cruft on Android devices, including photos and recordings (!). This is horribly designed. What I usually do is install ES File Explorer (free) and wipe the entire data partition on the internal SD without prejudice - I delete everything. Then do a system factory reset in settings (which wipes the system partition) and you should be pretty good to go. Note that I don't buy a non-rootable device, so this only applies to rooted units although this should work on any device.

"Will no longer boot" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47552967)

Purchase better shoes with a sensible heel.

"Erasing" is not good enough (1)

trampel (464001) | about 2 months ago | (#47553035)

I'm pretty sure that the ADB commands will just do a low level format, they will not physically overwrite the sectors holding your personal data (which is difficult on Flash memory anyway).

IMO the only safe method is to use Android's device encryption, but of course it's too late for that once you can't access the tablet any more. I learned this the hard way (a dead Nexus 7 which I probably will end up physically destroying).

I have a Asus Transformer tablet that I dropped... (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about 2 months ago | (#47553197)

Clumsy idiot. You deserve to have your data stolen. And as if anyone wanted the passkeys to your stupid subs, gmails and reddit IDs.

Most likely it's a loose video cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47553241)

Look for a youtube video on how to disassemble and reassemble. Unplug and re-plug the internal video cable and try booting again.

Encrypt your devices (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47553639)

It's too late now, but if this device had been encrypted before it was broken, you'd have a lot less to worry about.

OTOH, it's worth pointing out that if the level of effort required to find the storage on the broken device so you can wipe or destroy it is too much to bother with, it will almost certainly be too much effort for anyone to go through the same effort in order to retrieve your data, on the off chance there might be something of value in there somewhere.

trash it (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47553857)

My experience is that most tablets and chrome books have horrid resell values. Take a hammer to it and, if you're concerned about dumpster divers, go drive it to your local landfill.

Why not just fix it? (1)

SpamSlapper (162584) | about 2 months ago | (#47553979)

I had an ASUS tablet that stopped working.
Turned out the battery is just stuck in with double-sided tape and it had moved enough for the connector to come loose.
Run a guitar pick around the outside of the screen to open it up and plug the battery back in!

We the people... should ask for a better solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47554601)

Considering the low cost for manufacturers to use a user removable microsd rather than flash soldered to the board, we all should request that personal digital devices have storage that can be removed and destroyed by an end user without engineering knowledge. Remove a cover, pop out the card, done. All you need in the onboard flash is a bootloader with recovery capabilities to reload the user flash.

Hammer (1)

jgotts (2785) | about 2 months ago | (#47554679)

You'll burn through more money in labor by opening up the device without damaging it further and yanking the proper chips than what you'll get for it in parts.

What people should do with old tablets and smartphones is smash them. I'm sure there are techniques to wipe a tablet, but do you really want to take that kind of risk with your personal data? Even one credit card number accidentally cached by a sloppily programmed app can cause you way more harm than the $25 you might get for parts. You may not be liable for fradulent charges, but you are liable for the hours on the phone, filling out paperwork, and the other hassles coming from having your credit card stolen.

When I dispose of hard drives, I smash the platters to bits. Doesn't take much longer than 1-2 minutes. I have yet to dispose of an Android device, but the same concepts would apply.

Ir's not worth the risk... (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 months ago | (#47554775)

The small amount of dollars you'll get for it isn't worth the headaches you'll go through, wondering if you really did clear off all that data.

Take a blowtorch to it. Then a hammer. Then a liquidizer. Add a sprig of mint, some ice and whisk 'til smooth. Repeat. Then bury it in the canal.

how do you know it's not booting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47555141)

the screen is the most likely component to fail in an impact. can you plug it into a TV via HDMI / MHL, or plug a USB device that will indicate if it's getting power? does it show up on your wifi network?

Even for working A devices data scrub is a wash (1)

bdwoolman (561635) | about 2 months ago | (#47555225)

Check out this article in The Guardian [theguardian.com] 'Factory wipe' on Android phones left naked selfies and worse, study finds,

Really keep the thing for parts yourself. Or just keep it. You can't safely wipe it. Really. You can't. Though the chance of somebody actually harming you is small it is there. And if you have enough paranoia to ask this question then you will worry. Even years from now it will pop into your head at three AM unbidden and for no reason. Was that picture of me and Irma Plotnik really gone? Really really?

will it blend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47556029)

I mean seriously - the thing is not operational but still presents unknown security risk so why not blend it into oblivion / one can sell tickets for the show. This of course if one finds blender big enough to fit the piece in.

Sell it to me (1)

MadRush (756634) | about 2 months ago | (#47556325)

I have a project in mind that calls for exactly those parts; I want to hook up a raspberry pi to the keyboard and lcd. I'll dismantle the tablet and de-solder the flash and mail it back to you!
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