How to "erase" a hard drive?

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How to "erase" a hard drive?

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I have an old Dell Dimension PC that runs on Windows that I want to donate or give away, as I recently upgraded to an Inspiron.  I have heard that even though you delete things and send to recycle bin, that it never really "goes away".  How do I clean out the hard drive so that none of my personal information can be found?

Verified Answer
  • Only companies will have the equipment to scrub an HD. What I would do is to take out the HD, and ask them to put in their own HD. This will mean that they will have to a clean install, but it will protect your private data.

          

    If my answer Was helpful?  Please let me know by clicking on the 'Did this answer your question' and clicking on the Yes button.  Thanks.


     

     

  •  

    suzycat1


    I've found Darik's Boot and Nuke, very effective for erasing all the data from a hard drive.

    It's a funny name, but a good product.


    Bev.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Also Killdisk and Eraser work well.

  • suzycat1

     

    Nothing should happen to the system you download it to, providing the progam is saved to 'My Documents' or desktop and then burnt to a CD or a USB flash drive.

     

    Bev.

     

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Hello suzycat1, I would suggest following other member's suggestions..

  • If I might make a suggestion, you could try this.

    1.  Use Windows Explorer to find your data and delete it

    2.  When your data has been deleted, empty the recycle bin

    3.  Go to My Computer, right click on your C: drive, choose Properties, and Tools.  Choose Chkdsk.  Make sure that the option to fix file system errors is marked.  This should give you a message that Chkdsk will run when you restart the computer, so restart to run it.

    4.  When Chkdsk has finished and you have your desktop back, go back to My Computer, right click on the C: drive again, Properties, and Tools.  This time choose to run Defrag.  This will take a while so let it run while you are watching TV or something.

    When Defrag has finished you will have eliminated the fragmented files, and in the process of performing the defragmentation, you will have overwritten your old deleted data several times.  This will prevent anyone using common commercially available tools from accessing your data.

    If you are still worried, Shesagordie mentioned an excellent disk eraser.

     

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • You could also try drivescrubber from iolo.com.  It really works.

  • Formatting (even a full format), re-partitioning, defragging, restoring from an image file and other suggestions here will do little to stop someone determined to get at your old data.  I am constantly called in to do just that for people who have mistakenly done all of these things to their hard drives and can normally recover most, if not all of their data.  To thoroughly erase a drive would take the use of some of the programs mentioned here such as DBAN.  The program you download will create either a bootable CD or disk that you boot to and wipe the drive.  It will NOT affect the drive it is downloaded to. 

    And don't be misled by some of the programs that offer secure erase from within a Windows environment.  Unless you boot to a separate disk you can not do an actual secure erase.

    Inspiron 5160 w/2.8GHz P4 & XGI Volarie XP5

    Upgrades:

    1.25Gig Ram

    80Gig WDC Scorpio

    NEC ND-6750A DVD-RW

  • Han, with all due respect, I would expect that a large majority of people will have at least some Banking and/or Credit Card information on their computer.  With that in mind it is unconsionable to recommend a less than thorough method of erasing a hard drive.  Considering that the additional work involved would be minor at best and wouldn't incur any additonal cost to the person why would they not go the full route of securely erasing the drive with DBAN (or one of the other programs).  The risk is simply too great.  Using your method I stand a 95% chance of recovering Banking, Credit, or other personal information without working that hard from that hard drive.  Just download DBAN, create the disk, and let it run overnight.  If that is too much work then your priorities are flawed. 

    The bottom line is this.  Anyone who isn't willing to follow tried and PROVEN techniques for securely erasing a hard drive are just asking for trouble and deserve to get their information recovered and used against them. 

    Inspiron 5160 w/2.8GHz P4 & XGI Volarie XP5

    Upgrades:

    1.25Gig Ram

    80Gig WDC Scorpio

    NEC ND-6750A DVD-RW

  • Just download/use the free version of Active@ Kill Disk Wink

    From experience, I've found that:   “Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder”!!

     

    XPS M1730:

    Smoke Grey Magnesium Alloy Chassis - with White LED Backlights
    17" UltraSharp WUXGA Widescreen TFT (1920 x 1200) with TrueLife
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9300 @ 2.50GHz (800 MHz FSB, 4MB L2 cache)
    4GB (2x 2GB) Patriot Signature PC2-5400 @ 667MHz
    DUAL 512MB Nvidia 8800M GTX cards in SLi + 128MB Ageia PhysX
    640GB SATA II (2x 320GB WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm)
    8x Super-Multi DVD±RW
    Creative X-Fi Notebook (ExpressCard) + Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II
    Integrated 2MP Webcam
    Dell Wireless 355 Bluetooth 2.0 Module
    Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-Card
    TV Tuner and Dell Travel Remote Control
    4-in-1 Flash Card Reader (SSD/MMC/MS Pro/xD)

    230W AC Adapter / 9-cell Lithium-Ion Battery

    Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)

  • suzycat1

     

    I have an old Dell Dimension PC that runs on Windows that I want to donate or give away, as I recently upgraded to an Inspiron.  I have heard that even though you delete things and send to recycle bin, that it never really "goes away".  How do I clean out the hard drive so that none of my personal information can be found?

     

    Use the program I suggested/provided a link to in an earlier post (Active@ Kill Disk).

    Another good low-level formatting program is DBAN (Google it). 

    One particularly good feature about DBAN, is that it doesn't need to be run from a floppy disk.  It can be run from CD, DVD, or even a USB drive Cool Wink

    From experience, I've found that:   “Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder”!!

     

    XPS M1730:

    Smoke Grey Magnesium Alloy Chassis - with White LED Backlights
    17" UltraSharp WUXGA Widescreen TFT (1920 x 1200) with TrueLife
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9300 @ 2.50GHz (800 MHz FSB, 4MB L2 cache)
    4GB (2x 2GB) Patriot Signature PC2-5400 @ 667MHz
    DUAL 512MB Nvidia 8800M GTX cards in SLi + 128MB Ageia PhysX
    640GB SATA II (2x 320GB WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm)
    8x Super-Multi DVD±RW
    Creative X-Fi Notebook (ExpressCard) + Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II
    Integrated 2MP Webcam
    Dell Wireless 355 Bluetooth 2.0 Module
    Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-Card
    TV Tuner and Dell Travel Remote Control
    4-in-1 Flash Card Reader (SSD/MMC/MS Pro/xD)

    230W AC Adapter / 9-cell Lithium-Ion Battery

    Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)

All Replies
  • Only companies will have the equipment to scrub an HD. What I would do is to take out the HD, and ask them to put in their own HD. This will mean that they will have to a clean install, but it will protect your private data.

          

    If my answer Was helpful?  Please let me know by clicking on the 'Did this answer your question' and clicking on the Yes button.  Thanks.


     

     

  •  

    suzycat1


    I've found Darik's Boot and Nuke, very effective for erasing all the data from a hard drive.

    It's a funny name, but a good product.


    Bev.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Also Killdisk and Eraser work well.

  • I went to the site that you linked me to.  I see that I can download it.  The PC that I want to erase the hard drive can't currently be hooked up to the internet.  Can I download it onto a CD on my new computer and then use it in the old computer?  If yes, will anything happen to my new computer when I download it?

    Thanks!

  • suzycat1

     

    Nothing should happen to the system you download it to, providing the progam is saved to 'My Documents' or desktop and then burnt to a CD or a USB flash drive.

     

    Bev.

     

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Hello suzycat1, I would suggest following other member's suggestions..

  • Sorry all my post was deleted for violating TOS.  Not sure how, as there was nothing in it so i don't know. I even have a copy of what i posted and see nothing wrong with it. Oh well, first time for everything.

  • To Hanspuppa:

    Thanks for your suggestion.  Unfortunately, I don't understand the technical language you used.  What is a partition and a full format?  Could you please explain it on very simple terms.  Thank you so much.

  • If I might make a suggestion, you could try this.

    1.  Use Windows Explorer to find your data and delete it

    2.  When your data has been deleted, empty the recycle bin

    3.  Go to My Computer, right click on your C: drive, choose Properties, and Tools.  Choose Chkdsk.  Make sure that the option to fix file system errors is marked.  This should give you a message that Chkdsk will run when you restart the computer, so restart to run it.

    4.  When Chkdsk has finished and you have your desktop back, go back to My Computer, right click on the C: drive again, Properties, and Tools.  This time choose to run Defrag.  This will take a while so let it run while you are watching TV or something.

    When Defrag has finished you will have eliminated the fragmented files, and in the process of performing the defragmentation, you will have overwritten your old deleted data several times.  This will prevent anyone using common commercially available tools from accessing your data.

    If you are still worried, Shesagordie mentioned an excellent disk eraser.

     

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • You could also try drivescrubber from iolo.com.  It really works.

  • Formatting (even a full format), re-partitioning, defragging, restoring from an image file and other suggestions here will do little to stop someone determined to get at your old data.  I am constantly called in to do just that for people who have mistakenly done all of these things to their hard drives and can normally recover most, if not all of their data.  To thoroughly erase a drive would take the use of some of the programs mentioned here such as DBAN.  The program you download will create either a bootable CD or disk that you boot to and wipe the drive.  It will NOT affect the drive it is downloaded to. 

    And don't be misled by some of the programs that offer secure erase from within a Windows environment.  Unless you boot to a separate disk you can not do an actual secure erase.

    Inspiron 5160 w/2.8GHz P4 & XGI Volarie XP5

    Upgrades:

    1.25Gig Ram

    80Gig WDC Scorpio

    NEC ND-6750A DVD-RW

  • Hello suzycat1, Sorry for the confusion. I seem to know nothing about removing data from hard drives. I would follow other member's suggestions..

  • Han, with all due respect, I would expect that a large majority of people will have at least some Banking and/or Credit Card information on their computer.  With that in mind it is unconsionable to recommend a less than thorough method of erasing a hard drive.  Considering that the additional work involved would be minor at best and wouldn't incur any additonal cost to the person why would they not go the full route of securely erasing the drive with DBAN (or one of the other programs).  The risk is simply too great.  Using your method I stand a 95% chance of recovering Banking, Credit, or other personal information without working that hard from that hard drive.  Just download DBAN, create the disk, and let it run overnight.  If that is too much work then your priorities are flawed. 

    The bottom line is this.  Anyone who isn't willing to follow tried and PROVEN techniques for securely erasing a hard drive are just asking for trouble and deserve to get their information recovered and used against them. 

    Inspiron 5160 w/2.8GHz P4 & XGI Volarie XP5

    Upgrades:

    1.25Gig Ram

    80Gig WDC Scorpio

    NEC ND-6750A DVD-RW

  • Just download/use the free version of Active@ Kill Disk Wink

    From experience, I've found that:   “Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder”!!

     

    XPS M1730:

    Smoke Grey Magnesium Alloy Chassis - with White LED Backlights
    17" UltraSharp WUXGA Widescreen TFT (1920 x 1200) with TrueLife
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9300 @ 2.50GHz (800 MHz FSB, 4MB L2 cache)
    4GB (2x 2GB) Patriot Signature PC2-5400 @ 667MHz
    DUAL 512MB Nvidia 8800M GTX cards in SLi + 128MB Ageia PhysX
    640GB SATA II (2x 320GB WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm)
    8x Super-Multi DVD±RW
    Creative X-Fi Notebook (ExpressCard) + Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II
    Integrated 2MP Webcam
    Dell Wireless 355 Bluetooth 2.0 Module
    Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-Card
    TV Tuner and Dell Travel Remote Control
    4-in-1 Flash Card Reader (SSD/MMC/MS Pro/xD)

    230W AC Adapter / 9-cell Lithium-Ion Battery

    Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)

  • Hello PapaSmurf68, Thanks for your suggestions, the member may use them.