Hard drive overwriters

  Satratter 19:57 04 Jul 2004

I have just bought a used PC from a friend and he has advised me to buy an overwriter to clean the hard disc if I need to get the computer repaired in the future, as it has been used to visit some dodgy internet sites in the past, and although these sites have been deleted he tells me they are not removed completely by this.
My question is where can I buy one of these overwriters and what do I look for? I don't want to be embarressed in the future...or worse!

  GANDALF <|:-)> 20:01 04 Jul 2004

Download CCleaner from click here. This will clear enough of the crud.


  €dstowe 20:14 04 Jul 2004

Several of the hard drive manufacturers do a zero fill (= overwrite) program. Look up the maker of the drive and go to their website.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 20:35 04 Jul 2004

A reformat will clean all the drive thoroughly.


  spuds 20:55 04 Jul 2004

Found this free download click here Don't know if it is any good, but the American services use it!.

  Scotsman 11:23 05 Jul 2004

Formatting does not actually remove data it just makes it impossible to retrieve using any 'normal' methods like Windows Explorer or the 'Find' function in windows. However, after a format the data is still there and can possibly be retrieved using data recovery software or other techniques. There are several utilities that will securely erase unused data from your HD. Some have to be purchased, some are free.

Two excellent free ones are SDelete from SysInternals

click here

or Eraser:

click here

SDelete runs in a DOS window so you need to be comfortable using DOS style commands and switches.
If yopu have Windows XP don't use it as XP isn't mentioned on the website. It would probably work ok since it works with NT but I wouldn't take the risk!
Eraser runs in a normal Window so is easier to use. It's suitable for XP as well as 2000, 9x etc.

Two words of warning about both of them. They can both be set to erase the complete drive or they can erase only 'unused data' ie data belonging to files that have been deleted or, in the case of program files, 'uninstalled'. Don't use the first option unless you really want to erase everything!

I have used both progs but Eraser is my first choice on my own pc nowadays. SDelete has an advantage if you deal with other people's machines regularly - it fits on a floppy so is easily portable.

  safemode 12:09 05 Jul 2004

all deleting data does is allows that space on the hard drive or other media to be over written, data can still be recovered unless the drive has been totally overwritten about 11 times and scots said this is done by writing "0's" to the drive.

  Satratter 12:09 05 Jul 2004

Thanks for all the advice guys!

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