Used hdd

So a couple of weeks ago I got a used 80gig hdd for 50¢ at a church yard sale, it is a wd one and appears to have push button backup, and it works well, but it has 6 gigs of someone’s family pics on it and some 2006 tax info part of me wants to just wipe it and say meh. The other part says track the owners family down and contact them about the pics. I know a few names from the file names of the tax documents and from a pic of some ultra sounds but just a basic search on Facebook gives me two people but no pics to compare. Though one has two daughters as her profile pic and the ultrasound woman has two girls so possibly a lead.

Any advice?

About deciding whether to “wipe it and say meh” or “track the owners family down and contact them about the pics”, or about locating the family?

Are you sure the people weren’t actually participating in the ‘yard sale’?
Have you asked anyone involved in organising the sale if they know where the drive came from or have any clue as to who it might belong to?
(I would certainly hope that a group of Christians would want to help locate the owners of the files.)

I don’t know about the specifics of your country (I’m presuming the USA due to ‘¢’ and ‘yard sale’) but in some countries it’s still possible to locate people either through a phone book or by examining the electoral roll to find the address that corresponds to a name.

If you do manage to find them, educate them about how to properly wipe a hard drive.

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That is a tough one. Chances are, that whoever put it on sale did not realize what was on the hdd. If they did, they would have either wiped it or kept it.

Happened to me once also. But that was like 6 megs of pictures and absolutely no way of tracking the owner.

You do what you see best. I probably would try to contact possible owner if there is enough info to be able to do so. Family pics is something you never know. Might be the only copies of those photos on that hdd.


Though one indeed.

Isn’t there a postal address or any geographical indication? Tax info usually contains some. That might help you narrow down the suspects family. Maybe enough info to send them a letter too.

Alternatively, you could also use one of the pics to do an image search on google or something - choose one that looks “funny enough to be posted on social media”.

At least to make sure it’s OK to wipe the data. I known so much people who lost their data because of theft…

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I say if it’s possible to track the previous owner down, then do it. Best case you give someone some memories back, worst case you get told they don’t want them.