Hey IT Nerd! How Do I Erase A Hard Drive So That Nobody Can Get The Contents?

In this age of identity theft, this is a concern when you go to sell or donate a computer. The fact is that the only way of ensuring that nothing can be read from a hard drive, you have to physically destroy the drive. Otherwise the best you can do is to use a secure erase utility to reduce the number of people who could get stuff off the hard drive to those with advanced skill and the tech to do it. With that in mind, I recommend a tool called Darik’s Boot And Nuke for the job. Basically you download a CD image that you burn to a CD, and then you use that CD to boot your computer and nuke the contents of the hard drive. What makes it secure is that it gives you the chose of nuking data with pseudorandom numbers generated by Mersenne twister or ISAAC. The Gutmann method, Quick Erase, DoD Short, and DOD 5220.22-M. Basically, the same sorts of methods that governments, banks and the truly paranoid use to erase drives. Again, if someone is smart enough and has the tools to recover your data, nothing is going to protect you. But Darik’s Boot And Nuke will make sure that number of people who can are a pretty small number.

One Response to “Hey IT Nerd! How Do I Erase A Hard Drive So That Nobody Can Get The Contents?”

  1. Surreptitious Evil Says:

    Don’t bother with Gutmann coding, however. Unless, of course, you’ve got a working MFM or RLL encoded drive.

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