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How do I delete everything off my hard drive?

  1. I want to take an old computer to Goodwill but want to make sure the hard drive is clean. I tried a format c: from the command prompt but it didn't work. Is there another command to do it? There are no state secrets on the computer so I don't want to buy any special software. Is there an easy way to do it?

    BTW, It's running windows 2000.
  2. Remove hard drive from computer, take hard drive to range, shoot hard drive with Uzi, then shoot hard drive with Garand.
  3. Even if you format it a savvy person can still bring the files back up. You need a special program to get rid of files permanently.
  4. Yes this.
  5. Buy a rare earth magnet, remove hard drive, and apply the magnet around the drive.

    ~$30 for rare earth magnet. Be careful though because these magnets are not toys if you get a larger one.
  6. Since it's 10 years old noone wants it anyway.
  7. The local range doesn't allow shooting at non-targets (causes too much litter). A hammer works well. So does a drill press. Really, I never dispose of an intact hard drive. I have software that's supposed to wipe them, but I don't even trust that.
  8. http://www.ccleaner.com/

    Set it to do a Gutman over write. {35 passes.}
  9. Since you are using Windows 2000 - use the FDISK routine and delete all active partitions. Then create a new partition and do a low level format. It will not have an operating system anymore and is clean.
  10. Wrong! "Take off and nuke the entire site from orbit." That's the only way to be sure, at least according to Ripley! :tongueout:

  11. An acetylene torch gets the job done fast, just makes sure you have a nice cross breeze, they let off some nasty gas.
  12. Well, no, the operating system won't let you format the disk it's on. Boot from the install disk and format it from there. You should be able to format it without installing Windows. Alternately since it's really old maybe downloading and installing Ubuntu or some other Linux distro might be the answer.

    Even reformatting it doesn't protect your data from someone with the resources and the will to recover it. The only sure way to prevent your data from being recovered is to physically destroy the HDD platters.

    Realistically though reformatting it should be good for what you want.
  13. No one wants the computer. Kill the HDD and take it to a legit recycling company.

  14. I use soap and water to clean mine.
  15. I use a drill press and 3/8" carbide bit. Several random holes through all the platters works nicely. .30-06 FMJ does the same and is more fun.
  16. Someone with NO computer might be able to use it.
  17. Actually there are a lot of people that would be happy to have a computer but can't afford one. Just because it's worthless to you doesn't mean it's worthless.
  18. Really, just get Ubuntu and install it. It'll let you repart and overwrite the HD in the install.
  19. Good old DBAN works great also http://www.dban.org/

    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.
  20. Send it to the bottom of the ocean along with all your guns.
  21. I would pick up a cheap HD to throw in it and keep the old one. No computer leaves my house with a used HD in it.
  22. Just use one of the above links for wiping software. They work by writing random stuff over and over and over well beyond the point of ever being able to recover the original data. All the other suggestions are paranoid.
  23. Thanks for the link. Freed up over 5 GB on my HD.
  24. Interestingly, more recent research has shown that the method Peter Gutman presented in his paper of 35 overwrites, etc... is way overkill. The latest data actually shows that in most cases a single over-write is sufficient.

    Anyway, +1, ccleaner is a good utility.
  25. Yes this, but:
    Make a bootable floppy, and make sure you put the format utility on it. (one of the reasons I still put in floppy disk)
    If it was newer, make a bootable thumb drive and then do the same thing you'd do wiht the floppy.
    Boot from the floppy or thumb drive: repartition the hard drive, then full format the hard drive, Several Times. Each time you reformat and write zeros to the drive, you reduce residual magnetic variances

    There are some places that can still pick up data from residual magnetic variances still on the drive, BUT, the cost is so prohibitive, nobody would do that to a 10 year old hard drive, that came from an unknown individual. This amount of recovery is reserved for defense department drives that quit unexpectedly, or by the Chinese on US defense department drives.
  26. Google "derriks Boot and Nuke" then YouTube it on how to properly use

    works outstanding
  27. This here.

    Or, remove the hard drive and degauss it.
  28. DBan is the way to go. Why waste a perfectly good hard drive that someone else may be able to use?
  29. That's a mighty fine utility right there - thanks for posting about it!

    To the OP: See? I told you "Nuke it" was the only way to be sure! :tongueout:

  30. The military takes the drives apart and burns the platters with a propane torch. That should tell you something.
  31. Yes it tells me that they have unlimited money to buy new hard drives at taxpayer's expense.

    And that most of us do not have military grade level information to hide.

    Also that you know very little about hard drive cleaning utilities.

  32. +87

    The suggestions of wiping the drive 100% and removing the OS kinda defeats the purpose of giving the computer to Goodwill. The computer needs an OS to run.

    Just delete all the tranny porn and other stuff that he wants removed, with CCleaner set to 35 passes. Then, run it again, set to over write all "blank" sectors. That way the files get over written 70 times. The other "blank" areas get over written 35 times. I think that will keep the next buyer from finding tranny porn.
  33. Unless the OP knows where all user data are hidden, I would stay on the cautious side and wipe the disk clean with DBan.

    There are flash cookies, user data within Windows registries, etc that most people don't know about, and most programs, including CC Cleaner do not clean perfectly.

    Wipe it with DBan and forget it. If someone else gets the computer, let them put their own OS on it, something free like Linux or something.
  34. Mine runs every time I restart. Even empties the Recycling Bin and over writes that part of the HD.
  35. I like overkill.
  36. Since Win2K is out dated and no loner supported the option is to purchase (yes in order to be LEGAL you must purchase Windows XP) a new OS OR you can do what I and several other folks did and install Linux with all the trimmings for nothing more than the cost of a CD/DVD and a little time.

    That not only will alleviate any potential licensing issues, but revitalize that old hardware for another few years. Or you can ship with DOS disks and let someone else break the law thereby causing Microsoft to implement further draconian methods of proving you are legally renting their OS.

    Your choice...:dunno:
  37. Yeah. I didn't think of that.

    Linux is free. Maybe a note with the computer when he drops it off.

    "Hard drive is blank. Linux can be downloaded at _________________________ and installed to get the computer going. If you can't get internet access through a friend, call 1-800-XXX-XXXX to get a free CD."

    EDIT TO ADD: IF the OP wants to be a really good Samaritan, maybe he could download and burn a Linux CD and include it.
  38. Thanks for the smart *** reply. Next time someone needs answers on this subject, we'll just let you handle it.
  39. Delete the partition and reinstall a clean OS (whatever the tag on the box lists) and updates. Then install a free Antivirus/firewall program, utilities etc ... Next send an e-mail to your kids teachers ... "computer available, free to a good home, no strings attached" they won't have any problem finding a student that can use your old computer.
  40. I don't think that was an inappropriate reply. You opened the can when you brought up government data destruction standards. His reply (and I agree with it) is that most of us don't need to go to such lengths. The trick is to make recovering the data cost more than the bad guy thinks the data is worth. i.e., you don't have to outrun the bear - just outrun the other guy running from the bear. ;)

    BTW, at one time the oxide was ground off HD platters with a belt sander, but as better tools were developed they found residual flux could be detected in the substrate. Last I heard HDs were burned in a pit for hours and then buried in secure locations.
  41. :rofl:...yeah, every website has idiots that offer nothing better than a wise *** reply

    the military force has the right idea. i plan on tossing mine in the fire...after it gets the 2 lb hammer treatment
  42. It would be better to use your Glock.:rofl::rofl::rofl:
  43. Did you guys read the original post? He states that there is no sensitive information on the drive.

    OP: If you have a Windows install CD (of almost any kind), it should format it for you. A DOS bootdisk would work as well.
  44. sledge hammer.
  45. +1 a single pass or if your paranoid 2 will make the data unrecoverable. I believe someone was offering a million dollar prize for anyone who could recover data after being zero passed one time, no one stepped forward. IT's been proven that a single zero pass make it impossible to recovery 2 passes would reassure that. 35 passes is a waste of time.
  46. 2 pounds of tannerite should do, but use 3 to be safe.