Erasing a hard drive
is a step that most computer users overlook. Just simply going through your data and using the delete key in Windows does not entirely delete the data. This just simply removes the shortcuts making it not visible to the user. If a person wanted, they can easily use software to obtain the data off the hard drive. Fun FactA study was done and were 158 used disk drives were collected and the data retrieved. The two students found 5,000 credit card numbers, medical reports, detailed personal and corporate financial information, and several gigabytes worth of personal e-mail and pornography on those drives.Disk Wiping Methods
There are two common methods for erasing data
. These are formatting
a hard drive will not erase the data on the disk but will delete the address tables making it more difficult for average users to see the data, however, a computer specialist who is skilled can obtain some or all of the data using tools. Disk wiping
is a more effective method and basically write over the data with 1's or 0's. The more times the disk is overwritten the more secure it is. Disk Wiping Software
There are numerous free software utilities out there that will wipe your hard drive
. I will recommend two programs and briefly go over them. Eraser
- Click here for download
Eraser is a advanced security tool for Windows that will completely remove data from your hard drive. It has a simple to use interface and uses multiple wiping methods such as Peter Gutmann's paper Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory
You can use this program to delete files, folders, recycle bin contents and even free space on a drive. Click here
for a quick start guide which will give you the basics.
-You can even use Eraser to wipe your flash drive.Darik's Boot and Nuke
- Click here for download
Darik's Boot and Nuke is basically software you boot your computer into. You can load the software into a floppy disk, CD, or USB stick if supported by your computer. Once you boot into the program, you select the wiping options and it will do the work. This is an effective program and I have used it before.
In order to boot your computer to the software
you will first need to load the software on the media(usb/cd/floppy) described above then insert the media into your computer. Turn off your computer and as it is booting up you want to go into your computer BIOS. Usually, it will tell you what to press to get into BIOS during the boot up process. Once inside the BIOS you will need to change your boot order
so it boots to the media device first. Once done, exit the BIOS saving your changes and the computer will boot into the media and start the data wipe software.Tips
-If you are installing a new operating system I recommend you first wipe the hard drive using the methods described above, then formatting the drive for the new operating system. If you are giving away the hard drive or computer, I would recommend you wipe the hard drive before doing so.
I hope this article was informative. Be sure to check out my other tips
and tricks by clicking on my name then clicking on "Tips" under my profile.
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