Want To Know How To Erase Your Hard Drive?

You Asked, We Answered: How to Erase Your Hard Drive

In late June, we had posted an article regarding the importance of erasing your hard drive. Someone must have linked to the post because as of yesterday, we’ve had quite a few people responding to the article asking where they can get reliable software that will completely erase their hard drives. Here’s an update.

Let’s Rehash

In case you didn’t read the blog entry that I’m referring to, let me tell you about a situation that exemplifies the importance of erasing your hard drive before disposing of it. A few MIT research students purchased 158 used hard drives on eBay, costing them less than $1,000. What did they find on these hard drives?

Unfortunately, only 12 of the 158 hard drives had been erased properly. The remaining 146 hard drives had sensitive information on them. How sensitive? Let’s just say the MIT students were suddenly in possession of more than 5,000 credit card numbers. It seems that one of the hard drives actually belonged to an ATM machine and none of the information had been erased. They also found medical records, personal email, financial records and more.

The Problem

The problem with erasing a hard drive is this… You can’t just throw everything in your trash file because someone will be able to restore the files with a recovery program. The Windows utilities and many of the other “file erasing” utilities that are supposed to erase your information don’t really do any good either. Why? Because these utilities don’t actually overwrite the data on your computer, which is what needs to be done if you really want the information gone for good.

The Solution

So a number of you asked which drive eraser I use. It’s funny you should ask. Just the other day Max was telling all of you about another product that the company offers for data encryption.

To answer your question, I use DriveWasher by StompSoft because it is the only software I trust to completely erase all traces of information on a computer. Why? One, because it’s easy to use so I know I’m doing it right and two, because the software complies with the U.S. Department of Defense 5220.22-M standard for disk-sanitization. If the Department of Defense trusts the technology to get rid of sensitive information, I’m sure I can trust it to get rid of mine.

If you don’t want to use a drive eraser to get rid of the information on your hard drive before disposing of it, I highly suggest physically destroying the hard drive. People half-jokingly sent in comments asking if a sledgehammer was the only way to protect your data. Honestly, if you don’t use a highly-effective hard drive eraser, that is your only other option.

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