Be careful when throwing your printer in the trash, it could contain your data

In the digital age the number of documents being sent has been greatly reduced, yet there are still people using printers. If you are one of those who has completely digitized your company or simply want to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of printed paper, then think twice before throwing your printer in the trash. since i could contain traces of your recent documents.

The privacy of customer data not only affects large companies, but also smaller ones and yourself. Sometimes it happens to us that we have a small workshop or business that needs to print and mail invoices to our customers. It may also be that we have printed some medical document or personal accreditation. Well, keep in mind that some printers have memory and some more than they should.

Why you shouldn’t throw away your printer

Everything that operates with data in digital format has a processor inside and this requires memory to work. The fact is that when we send a document to the printer, it must have the ability to interpret it and therefore move its pieces to capture it on paper. So inside there will always be a simple circuit like the one you can see in the image below.

Printer Controller Circuit

To work, it is not that a printer requires a powerful processor, in its day the high price that some of them had was due to that, but today even less power is needed than a low-end mobile. Some can even operate no longer with RAM memory, but instead work perfectly with the bandwidth of NAND Flash memory, which also serves as persistent storage and that is where the problem lies.

How to fix the problem?

Many manufacturers allow you to know the information that your printer saves through its own menu. If you don’t know how to check what it stores inside, we recommend that you look at its manual. Note that many high-end models store documents as a kind of large cache to speed up performance. So when it comes to throwing the printer in the trashtake a look at that menu and if necessary, take your time in deleting the documents.

printer control panel

On the other hand, the low-end ones usually have a very low capacity. One trick is to send a large number of blank documents, with about 100 they will be enough in many cases. The printer will not actually have to print anything, just shift the sheets and each new document will replace the previous one. Which will leave the printer’s storage memory completely at zero.

By the way, some models have a way to delete all the information without having to go through these two solutions that we have explained to you. That is why it is important to save the documentation that comes with our hardware. For example, there are models that disconnect all cables except the power cable and hold down the power button for a few seconds. In any case, if you don’t have all of them, you can still take a hammer and smash the circuitry or throw it in the right place.

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