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Microsoft

Wiping your hard drive for good

First step Format Hard Drive! Before discarding the old PC computer in your basement or donating it to a school or charity, you want to make sure that all your data is completely removed. Just deleting files just is not enough. There are lots of software out there that can recover deleted files. To be 100% sure your data is gone, its best to use a program that will overwrite your hard drive with random numbers. This is called wiping a hard drive.

I use a nice little program called Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN).With this program, you boot a computer with the DBAN program and any drives attached to the computer will be detected. You have the option of which drive you want to securely erase. One wipe is enough to make it difficult to recover data, however there are even further steps you could take if you really need the data unrecoverable.

Degaussing is reducing or removing the magnetic field of the disk drive. The equipment required to do this is not cheap and if you ever want to re-use the hard drive again, you will need to have the manufacturer service the drive.  The hard drive will be totally useless until then.

The final way is of course to physically destroy the hard drive. This is done by grinding or shredding the hard drive, applying a corrosive chemical to the device such as acid or heating it above its curie point. If you aren’t in the market looking to purchase a device to destroy your hard drive or degauss it, your best bet is to first wipe it with a program like DBAN and then contact a local PC recycler in your area.

So, there are several ways you can proceed with wiping a hard drive.

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