I’m sure you’ve had more then one computer. You may have an old desktop computer or laptop just sitting around because although it came with Windows ME, you spend a majority of the time playing Snood, and it’s no so much beige as it is brown this computer had some valuable information on it from your past. It could be old taxes, photos, school papers, or whatever. But the information on the computer’s hard drive will identify it’s owner and the little details of your digital life.
You may want to donate your computer (and that is a noble cause) or you may leave it outside when the town comes by for it’s yearly garbage pick up. Whatever the reason you are letting this computer go, make sure your data isn’t going with it!
Securely erasing a hard drive isn’t as hard as you think it is. All you need is to download a CD Image file (otherwise called and ISO), a blank CD, and a computer with the hard drive installed.
If you are a Windows household: Download an ISO called DBAN. Next you’ll burn the ISO to a blank CD. You can use a free piece of software called IMGBurn to burn the ISO to a cd if you need it, or you can use software that may be installed onto your computer already. Next place the newly burned CD into the computer you are getting rid of (DO NOT BOOT YOUR PRIMARY COMPUTER WITH THE DBAN CD IN THE CD-ROM). Follow the instructions on the DBAN website on how to format the drive and use the DoD Short. If you are confused or are unsure. STOP. Find the neighborhood nerd, buy them beer, and make sure you say thank you.
If you are a MacHead: You will need the OS install CDs that came with your new Mac, the lastest OS install DVD, or if you have OS X Lion you’ll boot into the recovery partition. Either way, boot your Mac with one of the three above. If you are using an OS disk choose your language, click on Utilities in the menu, and launch the Disk Utility. On the left, pick your disk. Then choose Erase on the top. And click on Security Options.
The next step is to use the slider and pick your amount of security. The far left is no security. The far right is compliant for the US Government and Medical facilities. I stick with the next to last option for any disk that I’m selling or passing onto someone else. You can pick your level, but perform the Zero out of the disk at the least.
And what do you do when the hard drive is not working but you cannot run a program to erase the data? Hammer and a Nail. or just a hammer. Instructions? Look at the first picture.