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Secure Wiping Hard Drives Before They Are Given Away Or Sold

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According to, the hard drive is what stores all your data. It houses the hard disk, where all your files and folders are physically located. A typical hard drive is only slightly larger than your hand, yet can hold over 100 GB of data. The data is stored on a stack of disks that are mounted inside a solid encasement. These disks spin extremely fast (typically at either 5400 or 7200 RPM) so that data can be accessed immediately from anywhere on the drive. The data is stored on the hard drive magnetically, so it stays on the drive even after the power supply is turned off.

The term "hard drive" is actually short for "hard disk drive." The term "hard disk" refers to the actual disks inside the drive. However, all three of these terms are usually seen as referring to the same thing -- the place where your data is stored. Since I use the term "hard drive" most often, that is the correct one to use.


How to Really Erase a Hard Drive

We should all know that simply deleting a file does not wipe the information off your hard drive. Since delete doesn't really mean delete, then what does it mean? It means that the file information you have provided on your operating system has been maintained in a directory where your OS can find it. Although, when you delete a file, you are not wiping it from your hard drive; you are erasing that information from the file's reference information. Fortunately, your operating system cannot find the information you deleted, but unfortunately, someone else can because the data is still there. For example, it is quite easy to select a file recovery program on your OS because the program is looking for data in blocks that the directory says are not in use.

So how can you Securely Erase your Data? 

It is possible to clean your hard drive by Secure Erase. Secure erase is a positive and easy data destroy command for electronic data shredding. Secure Erase completely erases all possible user data areas by overwriting them, including the so-called g-lists that contain data in reallocated disk sectors (sectors that the drive no longer uses because they have hard errors in them,  Since the Secure Erase command is carried out within a hard disk drive it doesn’t require any additional software to implement; a set of commands embedded in most drives in operating systems built since 2001. 

How does Secure Erase work?

Secure Erase overwrites every single track on the hard drive which includes the data on “bad blocks”, the data left at the end of partly overwritten blocks, directories, or any other information source on the hard drive. According to The National Security Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Testing, Secure Erase is so effective; there is no data recovery after the erase.

Open Source External Block Overwrite [Boot and Nuke]

About DBAN Retrieved Entirely From

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

DBAN is a free software product that can be used at home or in a business at zero cost. The only official place to obtain DBAN is by download at this web site. We do not sell DBAN media.

How to Use the Boot and Nuke

Step 1: Go to

Step 2: Click on the link titled “DBAN 2.2.6 Beta for CD-R and DVD-R Media

Step 3: Burn that file to a blank disc and boot your operating system with it. DO NOT UNZIP FILE


about the author

More about Megan Scheuher:
Megan Scheuher Megan Scheuher is a 20 year old student at Western Michigan University, graduating in June of 2011 with a focus in Electronic Business Design. She enjoys long walks on the beach and amusement parks. There is nothing better to her than spending time with loved ones and her Husky/Malamute mix puppy, Duke.

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