No way will I spend $400 on this

$400.

That’s what it was going to cost to have a local copier-service company come to our Boulder office to wipe the memory of a copy machine that has served us well but now gets as many paper jams as it prints junk faxes.

I’ve read horror stories of old copiers being sent away with troves of documents still in memory, some of which contained proprietary company or personal information. Think of the scans, faxes and copies that could be stored in memory. Best to wipe it completely before bidding adieu.

But $400? That could buy us a brand-new Windows personal computer, or roughly 16 percent of a midrange Macbook Pro. Lacking an on-staff IT person, I decided to tackle the chore myself. How hard could it be?

The first task was to determine the IP address for the printer, as well as the password, which my controller somewhat skeptically provided. Being fairly tech-proficient, I was able to access the IP address in my browser and log in right away. Then I got the kind of sick feeling you get when you first open a box of Ikea furniture.

The page for the bizhub 360 resembled an Easter egg, with multiple shades of purple, blue, green, orange, red, brown, green and yellow icons. I clicked back and forth, trying to find a simple button that said, “Erase Memory,” but having to decide instead among ROM Version, Import/Export, Network TWAIN or a myriad of other options. Do I select PKI Settings or Machine Setting? How about “Manage Copy Protect Data?”

After clicking on every colorful icon, I settled on User Box Setting, under which I found a word that sent waves of satisfaction through me: “Delete.” I could delete an Unused User Box, a Secure Print File, a Time Setting or a Document Delete Time Setting.

Unsure of which was the right course, I did what any reasonable person would do: I Googled it. Google took me to an entirely different option: Deleting documents directly on the copier.

Somewhat chagrined that I’d wasted time fussing with IP addresses, ROM Versions, Network TWAINS, WebDAV and OpenAPI, I raced to the copy room, only to find that my being logged in completely froze the copier for any other purpose. Logging out, I returned to the copier, hit the User Box button, ready to identify documents, and hit “Delete.”

But wait. No documents were shown, and no “Delete” button was to be found. I ventured back and forth between logging in via my computer and logging out to revisit the copier. Nothing was as I expected. Several hours later, as the sun set and the janitors began vacuuming around me, I gave up, only to return to the task the next day.

Amazingly, nothing had changed in the intervening hours. At press time, I still don’t know whether any proprietary documents exist on the copier, which will be carted off in three days.

I’m sure I’ll have it figured out by then.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133, via email at cwood@bizwestmedia.com. Or you might check the copy room.

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