erase harddisk without erasing operating system

  new214 15:16 12 Mar 2011

Hi I have an old laptop which I wish to erase the hard-disk of any files I may have had or have on it ...I've heard of specialist software which could erase hard-disks but I would like to keep the operating system files and program files on the hard disk intact - does anyone know any free tools to do this?

  Strawballs 15:20 12 Mar 2011

Do you have the windows disk or does it have recovery partition if so format and reinstall or reset to factory settings will give what you want with clean install

  woodchip 15:24 12 Mar 2011

cannot be done

  bremner 15:35 12 Mar 2011


eraser click here

ccleaner click here

Just to name two well known ones. Both allow for eraser of all free space on hard drive.

Delete everything that you do not want. Empty recycle bin and then use the application set on 3 times overwriting.

  Strawballs 15:39 12 Mar 2011

What make and model HDD

  Strawballs 15:40 12 Mar 2011

Sorry meant make and model laptop

  onthelimit 17:09 12 Mar 2011

Im not sure how, but your second clickear takes me to my wife's facebook page!

  bremner 18:13 12 Mar 2011

Somehow I linked to Facebook Login instead of Piriform

This is the correct link for ccleaner

click here

  theDarkness 18:19 12 Mar 2011

If you want to erase all traces of private data, eg ur selling your pc, have deleted files that were in your 'my documents' folders-and you dont want anyone to re-discover them (using tools such as recovery studio to get back deleted files), then there are many tools that do a similar job. As far as I know, if hard drive space that once contained private data is now being used up again, then no one can recover the old data. If your hard drive is relatively small, you could always fill it back up again with non private data, and then uninstall it-but that may be a very slow process. I think I would go down the easier route and use a program such as file-shredder (retail) or eraser (freeware) to permanently erase individual files, but this may be also be a relatively slow process if you dont have all these files in one location, or want to reinstall windows.

  theDarkness 18:36 12 Mar 2011

file shredder (was freeware!)
click here

click here

data shredder
click here

  Les28 07:58 13 Mar 2011

One way is to create a new user account with full admin rights, then delete your old user account, then run Eraser to write over the pc's free hard drive space.

See the reply 12th post down on this page

click here

No harm first in letting CCleaner delete all index.dat files which it will do at boot time if scheduled, also maybe clear the user assist count keys as explained here

click here

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