Security for a laptop repair?
July 25, 2015 5:39 AM   Subscribe

I have a laptop purchased from Costco at the end of 2013. It is dead and needs to be repaired, but I'm concerned about the theft of my data.

With this laptop I purchased a three year, all-inclusive, Square Trade extended warranty.

I believe the issue is a motherboard problem, but I am 100% sure that all of the data on the internal drive is intact. I say this because it will power up and I can immediately open the drive, see all of the files, etc. However, within a matter of roughly 30 seconds, the display goes wacky and the machine freezes.

In sending it in for service, should I be concerned about the security of my files? I'm asking because among them is a plain text file with my password data for pretty much every web site I visit, including financial institutions, etc. One would have no indication from the file name that it contains this info, but I realize that probably means nothing to someone who want want to steal this info.

I'd appreciate any informed answers. Also, if anybody has actually filed a Square Trade warranty claim, how was the experience?

Thanks in advance for any help!
posted by imjustsaying to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Ask if you can send it for repair without the hard drive. They should be able to fix it without one. I did this with Lenovo once and they were able to handle it.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:26 AM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've taken the drive out many times before warranty repair for similar reasons. I've seen computers wiped and reloaded with no regard for the data and no warning - "You should have backed it up, it says right here in the fine print that we're not responsible for data".

As needs more cowbell suggests, contact them to make sure they aren't going to reject it without the drive, but they run into this all the time.

You should look into Lastpass or similar to keep your passwords managed safely. It has seriously revolutionized how I work with passwords.
posted by dozo at 7:02 AM on July 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have sent in 2 laptops for warranty repair and they specifically requested that I remove the HDD prior to shipping it.
posted by brownrd at 8:34 AM on July 25, 2015

Yeah I'd just remove the hard drive and send the computer in.
posted by dfriedman at 9:17 AM on July 25, 2015

Yep, take out the HD.
posted by kschang at 2:49 PM on July 25, 2015

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