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I have a Brother 5470-DW Printer. I want to sell it but wanted to make sure all the last prints can't be recovered.

If I sold my printer could the last pages printed be recovered? How can I wipe all the last printed pages? Wipe the memory? How would I do that? Does it have a HDD that I need to remove?

I also have a Brother 5370-DW. Would the answer be the same for this older model?

EDIT NEW INFORMATION

I was talking to someone that said it might be model specific, and to check if there's anything cached in flash chips at all... does anyone know anything about this? They said to open the printer and have a look.... how do I do this? Does anyone know if this is necessary and given all the info/answers/manuals, that there is nothing cached in the flash chips?

In other words, print 100+ pages and then just power off the printer for 24 hrs and that should leave all past prints unrecoverable is that about rt?

  • Some printers do store print history. I do not know about this specific model though, but you should be aware that it is a known issue with printers. – forest Jan 23 '18 at 2:20
  • Looking at the specs page of the 5470, I don't see an internal drive mentioned and its memory is listed at 128 MB. That seems small for a hard drive, but I think the only way to really know is to either find a shop manual or call Brother. – baldPrussian Jan 23 '18 at 2:47
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    Note that memory and storage are different. Memory vanishes in seconds when the system is powered off, so unless you are selling your printer still plugged in from the last time you printed off of it, memory is not something you have to worry about. – forest Jan 23 '18 at 3:00
  • @baldPrussian: if such a printer actually have persistent storage, I think it's unlikely it will be a hard drive. Instead, I'd expect it to be some form of flash storage, which is available in much smaller form factor than hard drives and doesn't have moving parts or make any noise during operation. The advantage of hard drive over flash is capacity, but most printers don't really need large storage capacity as they're usually only used to spool print jobs. – Lie Ryan Jan 23 '18 at 11:52
  • Pure speculation: A laser printer works by manipulating electric charge on the drum to pick up toner via static electricity. I wouldn't be surprised if a small portion of that charge remained after printing — so possibly the last page (or a part of it) could be recovered from that. That'd be independent of any pages retained on disk or in flash. – derobert Jan 23 '18 at 19:34
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From what I read here and after a quick look in the User's Guide this does not seem to be the case.

Print jobs are stored in the local memory (RAM) of the printer, but this is not the same as a hard drive (see also forest's comment). This is true for the majority of modern printers. If the printer is turned off for a moment, there should be no more data inside the memory (aka no more old print jobs). That moment can be crucial, research has shown, that data persists in RAM for some minutes even after a device is powered down.

Speaking to your specific case: unless you are a government official or another target that prints top secret/highly valuable documents every 5 minutes on his printer, this is probably not a risk for you.

The printer (5470-DW) also seems to have ROM2. How do I know? Becaue you can format it.1 According to the manual macros and fonts are saved there, but who knows what else ends up there. If you decide to format the ROM, you might have to reinstall some firmware if you/somebody want/s to use the printer again. I don't think it's necessary, but if you have the itch (and the time) to do it, do it.

Concerning the the HL-5370DW: print jobs are also saved in the printer's RAM, not too sure about the ROM2.

I also looked for known vulnerabilities, there seem to be none.

1 see page 78 in the english User's guide

2 this is probably an EEPROM unit

  • "The printer (5470-DW) also seems to have ROM. How do I know? Becaue you can format it.1" I think you meant the printer have a persistent storage. ROM or read only memory, cannot be used to store firmware updates. – Lie Ryan Jan 23 '18 at 11:01
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    ROM is the wording that is used in the manual. I'm pretty certain that it's actually EEPROM. Also - but this is only speculation - the firmware is not saved there, but only fonts and macros. My reasoning was the following: if you format the EEPROM you will have to get the fonts back somehow, because a printer without fonts seems pretty obsolete to me. This is probably done by installing some kind of firmware. (Reeeally not sure about this one.) – Tom K. Jan 23 '18 at 11:50
  • Very Interesting Tom. I've looked at the user manual, and you definately have the option to "Delete" or "Format" the ROM... "Delete Storage".............. Few follow up Q's ... 1) Is it likely the ROM has data you've previuosly printed or is it very unlikely? 2) And if so, I mean how many pages of data would it have? like the last 10-25 pages or 10-25 pages from any time period?? 3) and if you simple printed out like 100-500 pages & powered off the printer for like 24+ hrs, the printer's previous print jobs Most Likely shouldnt be able to be recovered? Is this about rt? – Connect4 Jan 23 '18 at 22:21
  • @Connect4 IMO it's extremely unlikely. – Tom K. Jan 23 '18 at 23:18
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    It's additionally extremely unlikely as EEPROM has a very limited life and excessive writes (or even reads) will break it down much more quickly than with other non-volatile solid-state media. Writing to the EEPROM every single time a page is printed would damage it very quickly. – forest Jan 28 '18 at 22:00

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