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Old 04-02-2009, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Freeport, MN
25 posts, read 71,910 times
Reputation: 21

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Does anyone know how to erase a computers hard drive?

I'm donating the computer and I don' want my hidden info ie credit card numbers, and my businesses other information.

I appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:05 PM
 
Location: West LA
75 posts, read 185,845 times
Reputation: 26
I was having issues with my new laptop (it ended up needing to be replaced) so I did a full system restore and returned it back to the way it was when I bought it...it should erase everything.
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:15 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,348,910 times
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Reformatting or running the restore discs that came with your computer does not really erase everything. Someone who's really interested could connect the drive to a computer and run software to recover a lot of your files. You need a program to overwrite your hard drive multiple times. I use a program called dban. Google it. It makes a bootable CD that you use to start your computer and it erases your hard drive(s). Be sure to disconnect any drives you DON'T want erased to ensure you don't accidentally wipe the wrong drive. After running dban, there will be NOTHING left on the disk. No operating system, no files, no hidden restore partition. Nothing. The drive is physically unharmed and can be used by someone else but your data will be gone forever.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:00 AM
 
Location: Shallow alcove hidden from the telescreen
2,871 posts, read 10,033,123 times
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If you're using a Macintosh, the disc utility can erase with 7- and 35-pass erases, meaning that the disc is over-written with zeros up to 35 times. You can also "secure empty trash" which does the same thing for the sectors you're deleting. I'm no expert on this, just things I've learned about the Mac.

Another option is to tear the HD out of the machine and first smash it with a hammer then drill holes in it.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:24 AM
 
40,293 posts, read 41,843,525 times
Reputation: 16806
Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
but your data will be gone forever.
Off topic but I was reading about recovery techniques at an atomic level where drives have been wiped through conventional means. I cannot for the life of me find the article. It was interesting but would also suggest a drive could have an infinite amount of storage space.... certainly something to look for in the future.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,327 posts, read 59,671,507 times
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1. It is a good thing you are doing, donating the machine.



2. Hard drives are so cheap now, I think I would just buy a new drive and swap it out.
Makes a better donation, no security issue, and you would have a drive with all your stuff on it. With a USB drive dock, you could tap that information or use it for back up.
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:10 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,750 posts, read 11,317,384 times
Reputation: 7707
Escape's advice is good. Use dban to securely wipe the drive. If you really want to be nice, then rebuild a basic operating system on the drive before donating it. dban leaves the drive in such a state that it needs to be partitioned and formatted before it can be used again.

Donating your old computer is a fine and generous thing to do.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:25 PM
 
830 posts, read 2,597,255 times
Reputation: 381
There is also a program called Eraser that seems to work pretty well. I've used it a few times. It's free and has gotten good reviews. Has lots of options you can tweak, including what you want to erase, how you want to erase it, etc.

But true that storage is cheap now. You can get a terabyte drive for less than $100.
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Old 04-03-2009, 03:40 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,273,417 times
Reputation: 8302
Quote:
Originally Posted by nori_garsi View Post
I was having issues with my new laptop (it ended up needing to be replaced) so I did a full system restore and returned it back to the way it was when I bought it...it should erase everything.
If it goes back to a reputable company, then they will likely wipe the disk to insure that your personal data is gone. Your actions of restoring it does not guarantee that the data is irretrievable from the drive.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:28 PM
 
28,644 posts, read 40,622,302 times
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A strong magnet works quite well. Just make sure the drive is not in the computer when you do it.
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