Published on February 11th, 2015 | by Technable0
How to Wipe Your Hard Drive
To wipe your hard drive means completely erasing all information from the drive such that it cannot be recovered, and usually done for security reasons, to comply with government regulations, or company policies.
Whenever you delete a file or format a hard drive, you only delete data from the file system, making the data invisible from immediate view but not gone. The data could still be recovered if someone used recovery software to retrieve the data. Therefore, an extra step is needed to wipe your hard drive completely to guarantee the old data is unreadable.
If you have an old computer you want to get rid of, you will want the personal information removed before discarding the computer. Maybe you need to overwrite the data and protect yourself against identity theft of sensitive personal data that you had previously deleted – account numbers, passwords, etc., you will need to wipe your hard drive. Therefore, to achieve the intended result, you will need to take drastic measures and wipe your hard drive using specialized software that erases all the files from the hard drive and leave no traces of any previous data or software.
It is also important to take precaution. Before you start to wipe your hard drive, you may need to back up important data. Once you start the wipe, you can’t go back for a forgotten file no matter how badly you need it, all data that you had on the PC will be gone forever. You may opt for an external hard drive for backups or an online backup solution. If you are wiping a laptop’s hard drive, plug in power to avoid power going out which could damage the hard drive.
Technology to wipe your hard drive
There are different levels that one can use to wipe your hard drive. These may vary depending on the drive wipe out software used.
Most of the hard drive wipe out tools utilize the military grade wiping technology that ensures data is overwritten several times using the patterns that even the most sophisticated data recovery tools cannot recover.
The various standards you can use to wipe your hard drive include
• 1-pass random
• 1-pass zero
• Bruce Schneier’s 7-pass wiping scheme
• British HMG IS5 Baseline
• British HMG IS5 Enhanced
• Canadian RCMP TSSIT OPS-II
• German BCI/VSITR
• NAVSO P-5239-26 (MFM)
• NAVSO P-5239-26 (RLL)
• Peter Gutmann’s 35-pass wiping scheme
• Russian GOST R 50739-95
• U.S. DoD 5220.22-M(ECE)
• U.S. DoD 5220.22-M(E)
• U.S. DoE M 205.1-2
• U.S. Army AR380-19
There are various free and premium tools that you can use to wipe your hard drive. Below is a brief preview of some typical tools that can effectively used to wipe out a hard drive.
Software tools to wipe your hard drive
1. Active@Kill Disk – Hard Drive Eraser
3. Disk Wipe
4. Darik’s Boot and Nuke
5. BCWipe Total WipeOut
7. Shredit for Windows
All these hard drive eraser utilities run off a bootable disk which can be created in windows or other OS, and an appropriate CD/DVD burn tool. This means that you can use the tools to wipe your hard drive regardless of the operating system running on the computer.
Wiping your hard disk using Darik’s Boot and Nuke
Most of the tools that you can use to wipe your hard disk uses procedures which are much or less the same. The typical steps using one of the tools, the Darik’s Boot and Nuke are as highlighted below.
The free program is downloadable from the Dban website. Use these to create the bootable CD or DVD.
Start the process by making a copy of your information somewhere else.
1. Insert the disc into your PC’s CD/DVD drive in the computer you wish to wipe.
2. Reboot the machine, and tell the computer to boot to the disc. You may need to set PC to boot from the CD/DVD drive by getting in BIOS
3. Once DBAN is up and running, choose “M” key on your keyboard to select an erasure method.
4. After selecting the method, then select the drive you wish to wipe.
5. Press F10 to start the wipe once everything looks good
6. Allow the software to complete the process before turning off the machine.
Note that depending on the method you choose and the size of the disk, it may take longer for the software to complete the wipe.
Some of the tool that you may use to wipe your hard drive could have extra options such as customization of the wipe out levels, issuing a printable certificate showing that the hard disk was securely wiped out. Others will allow one to wipe out specific files, folders without wiping out the whole hard disk.