Erasing data from old hard drive

  Gary Wood 20:30 03 Feb 2006

I have an old hard drive which I need to erase the data from before disposing of it. Can anyone advise of a freeware program that will let me securely erase all data?

  howard63 20:34 03 Feb 2006

type free file eraser into google

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:39 03 Feb 2006

Kill disk click here

  jack 22:06 03 Feb 2006

'before disposing' you said.
Do you mean pass on for reuse or throw away?
If the latter simply smash it with a large hammer or dismantle and destroy the platter[s]

  Damn Machine 22:13 03 Feb 2006

Please tell me if I'm wrong about this, but data can be recovered from disk because "delete" only removes the start of the address leaving the data largely intact until that section is written over. Therefore, filling the disk up with other files will have to overwrite all "deleted" data. So copy one large file over to the drive then multiple copies to same drive, select all and copy to same drive again will effectively replace overwrite any sensitive files. Is that right?

  bluto1 22:34 03 Feb 2006

Gary Wood, If you just want to format it, and it`s still in your PC, and you`re OS is Windows XP (A lot of ifs) click on My Computer, Right click on the appropriate drive and click on Format. That`s the quick way, unless you`ve got dreadful secrets or indeed official secrets to hide.

  Gary Wood 14:28 04 Feb 2006

Thanks for all the replies. The disk I need to erase has developed an intermittent fault and I need to erase personal information (bank details etc) before I return it for warranty replacement.

The problem is (and I should have mentioned this in the original post) that the disk is external and so I can't use DOS-based programs to erase it.

  Monument 14:32 04 Feb 2006

Download Eraser 5.7 click here

Then connect the external drive and delete everything using Windows Explorer.

Then run the Eraser, delete free space. As all your drive is free space it will overwrite the entire drive.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 14:38 04 Feb 2006

Just run a format. This will be more thasn enough to erase data rather than all the faffing around.


  Monument 14:39 04 Feb 2006

Format does nothing to remove data. Only you know if you have anything on the drive that is personal that you would not wish anyone else to have.

  Gary Wood 16:56 06 Feb 2006

Formatting the disk was not secure enough, since the drive will be reconditioned by the manufacturer and hence may end up in someone else's computer, and it contained personal information such as accounts etc.

As suggested by Monument, I deleted my files by formatting the drive and then ran Eraser 5.7. It's a very easy to use program which overwrites the drive to ensure that previous data cannot be recovered.

A word of warning to anyone thinking of using Eraser, though - it takes a fair while to process. My 250Gb drive took about 3 hours!

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