Printer Memory?

Dear Computer Lady,

My printer has broken down and I am getting a new one. I have read that discarded printers have a memory that could be accessed by whoever got ahold of it and knew how to do it, and that memory could contain personal or financial information. Can you tell me if this is true, and if so, can you tell me if there is a way to eliminate the printer memory before I discard it?

Thank you for your help. I’ve been a reader of your newsletter for many years now and always find something of interest.


Dear Pat,

Almost all printers have only RAM memory, which can only hold information while the device is powered on.

This means that any information stored in your printer would be gone forever once you have erased it.

The only exception would be higher end office printers that come with a hard drive. If the printer has a hard drive (which can hold information while powered off) then there is a chance that there could be images of some of your printed documents on the drive.

If you don’t know if your printer has a hard drive or not, then it probably doesn’t. You would have paid quite a bit extra for a printer with a hard drive.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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