Deleting Fax Machine Memory for Privacy

I have an HP 1040 fax machine. I have deleted all the info that can be cleared from the memory. Is there any info remaining in a hard drive or can I safely dispose of this machine?

If you’re confident you have deleted the items that are listed in the memory, you can feel confident disposing of the fax machine. There’s no separate “hard drive” to worry about in these smaller desktop machines. If you have a large, old machine, you may want to find, remove, and dispose of (or reuse) the RAM stick or chip.

To double-check that you’ve deleted everything in the fax storage memory, go through the Menu process one more time and make sure there’s nothing still listed there. For the Hewlett-Packard model you mention, the manual says to press the Menu button until Memory Clear appears and select that by pressing Start/Enter. You’ll need to individually select and delete each item, including: fax headers, dial/schedule, fax log, and faxes in memory.

On other fax machines, trying looking for the Service menu, then Fax Service, then Clear Saved Faxes. On an all-in-one printer/fax, try: Setup, Fax Setup, Fax Tools, Clear Fax Log. Some machines are especially clear, with a choice called “Delete All Docs.” (If you’re faxing with the help of a desktop or laptop computer, it’s possible that your computer has saved numbers in a fax log, but this won’t affect your ability to securely dispose of your standalone fax machine.)

Ideally, you shouldn’t go all “Office Space” on your old fax machine, smashing it up with hammers. Instead, donate it or take it to an electronics recycling center or see when your local government or a business is hosting an e-waste disposal event.

Some of the old-style thermal transfer fax machines actually retain carbon-like copies of sent faxes on the film inside, so anyone with that type of machine would need to exercise extra caution.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.