Four techniques for erasing your old hard drive

by techtiptom


Originally posted on on 08/20/2012 (Happy Birthday, Tech Tip Tom!)

When you replace an old computer, you need to take steps to protect the data that was on that computer prior to donating it, selling it or even throwing it out or recycling it. Too many computer degenerates use the data that can be found on old hard drives to try and steal your identity. You can avoid this by using one of the following four options:

1. One free program that will completely cleanse a hard drive is called Autoclave. You can download and read the instructions here:

2. Darik’s Book and Nuke also provides a way of thoroughly cleaning the data from an old hard drive:

3. A third option to cleaning your old data form a hard drive is Active KillDisk ( They offer a free and a pro version of this software.

4. My last, and probably easiest, fastest, and safest method of guaranteeing your old data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to to open the computer and remove the hard drive from the system. You can then either store the hard drive in a safe place at your home, open it and examine how it is built, throw it down repeatedly on the street, hit it with a sledgehammer, or any other method of destruction you can think of performing on it. Hard drives are inexpensive enough these days, that the new owner can pony up $50 or bucks for a larger capacity drive.