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You are ready to sell or give away your old computer… how do you make sure you have securely removed all your previous personal data?
You may have already deleted personal files and information, or you may have de-fragged your hard drive hoping to eliminate information by write-overs. Either way, you’re not quite done.
There’s one important action you should take before you say goodbye to your old friend. And that’s wiping your hard drive clean.
Simply deleting your files doesn’t do the trick since they can be restored from the Recycle Bin. And even if you empty the Bin, your deleted files can often be recovered with the right undelete utility. But what if you want to completely eliminate all readable information on your hard drive? That’s when you need a good hard drive eraser utility.
First, a little background information. Most laptops and many desktops now use or offer solid-state drives (SSDs) instead of mechanical hard drives. SSDs are faster and more reliable than their mechanical counterparts. However, SSDs are trickier to wipe and few hard drive erasers support them.
If you’re wiping a mechanical hard drive, you’ll want a drive eraser utility that offers a data destruction method known as DoD 5220.22-M. Served up by the US Department of Defense, by default this method overwrites your data three times with different characters to fully wipe your drive.
Two Strong DoD Level Hard Drive Erasers
PartedMagic is a jack of all trades. For $9, this utility offers disk partitioning, disk cloning, file recovery, and last but not least, drive wiping. The software also supports SSDs. To use the program’s “Secure Erase” feature, follow the directions at the bottom of the Downloads page. After you’ve created your bootable CD/DVD or USB drive, then segue to the directions on the Secure Erase webpage to learn how to wipe your drive.
Blancco Drive Eraser costs $14.20, but it offers a lot for the money. It supports SSDs as well as the DoD 5222.2M method for erasure. It’s recommended for use by businesses and organizations, so it’s more than capable of handling disk wipes for personal use.
You can take the program for a spin via a free 10-day trial to see if it meets your needs. After you download Blancco Drive Eraser, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to create a bootable USB drive to load the software.
There are many other applications that offer erasing and wiping abilities. We chose the two above because they utilize DoD level wiping, and they include SSD level process. You may not want or need that level of file erasing, but if you do, the two above choices are well worth your time.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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