Wipe Your Hard Disks Clean

DBAN CD LabelAre you getting rid of an old computer or upgrading your hard drive? Are you sure that all your personal information has been removed from that old desktop/laptop/drive? There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there that pick up used computers and hard disks just to see what data they can find.

Did you know that deleting files does not really delete them? Did you know that formatting a drive will NOT erase your data? Deleteing files and formatting disks just erases the address tables not the data itself! Anyone with the right tools can recover all your data. The BEST way to secure your data is to destroy the hard disk. But if you want to sell or give away a working computer wiping the drive is the next best thing.

I use Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) software on every disk before I sell it. It is free and it works. It will overwrite all the data on your disk so that it can’t be recovered. You just download an .ISO image and burn it to a CD. ImgBurn is great easy and free software for doing this. Boot the computer with the CD you made and follow the simple instructions. You can choose many different erase methods but the default settings will work just fine. It will take a few hours (more or less depending on the disk size) to erase your disk as it will overwrite the entire disk to destroy all the data on it. Your disk will be erased to DOD (Department of Defense) standards.

For older computers you can get a floppy version of DBAN here. Just run the .EXE file and it will create a bootable floppy for you.

I haven’t tried it yet but there is another software product called KillDisk which looks good. The offer a free version which should be adequate for most people who don’t demand DOD level erases (it just writes zeros over the entire disk). It does have a slick GUI interface and will make bootable floppy/CD/USB drives.

Don’t give away a computer without wiping the drive first!

Links:
Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN)
KillDisk
ImgBurn
Info. on installing DBAN onto a bootable USB Flash Drive

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