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Free tools to securely wipe hard disk data

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Hard DiskThere comes a point in your computer’s life when completely erasing the hard disk drive(s) is necessary. You might be putting the computer up for donation or sale or just want to wipe everything so as to start fresh. Wiping or securely erasing the contents of your hard disk is not necessary if you simply want to reinstall the operating system, but it should be done if you do not want that lucky recipient of your generosity being able to read your sensitive data. Here are a few free bootable tools that will do the job very well and probably relieve your paranoia.

Nobody should have access to your private documents without your consent. Securely erasing your computer’s hard disk before passing it on makes it extremely difficult for someone else to recover it. Simply sending a file to the Recycle Bin and emptying it does not guarantee that the data cannot be recovered. There are a lot of freely accessible software out there that can perform recoveries in such scenarios. The wiping algorithms employed in many of the applications mentioned below will, for the most part, permanently delete your sensitive data.

In order to use these free tools, you must boot to a CD/DVD containing the software. They are perfect for wiping your disks outside of the Windows environment.

Active@ Kill Disk Free

Disk eraser software for secure formatting of hard drives without the possibility of data recovery. DOS application can be run from floppy boot disk. DoD 5220.22-M compatible. Erasing PC Hard Drives.

Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN)

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.

HDDErase

A DOS-based utility that securely erases “sanitizes” all data on ATA hard disk drives in Intel architecture computers (PCs). It offers the option to run the drive internal secure erase command, security erase unit, based on the ATA specification by the T13 technical committee.

CopyWipe

A utility for copying or securely overwriting (wiping/erasing) entire hard drives. CopyWipe can ease and expedite the transition to a new hard drive by copying the entire contents of one drive to another. CopyWipe can also help prevent confidential or private data from being recovered, by securely wiping the contents of a drive.

The next set of free tools can be used like any other application within the Windows environment. Of course, you should realize that they are more suitable where wiping non-primary disks is required.

Eraser

An advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

Disk Wipe

A portable Windows application for permanent volume data destruction. With Disk Wipe you can erase all disk data and prevent recovery of those data.

WARNING TIP 1: Make a backup of all of your important data before wiping the disks. It is very difficult to recover anything after a wipe is performed.
WARNING TIP 2: Ensure you select the correct disk to wipe within the appropriate application. Accidentally wiping the wrong disk within a multi-disk environment without a backup is a horrible experience to have.

Do you know of any other free disk wiping tools? Please share them with us in the comments!

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Written by falcon1986

20 August, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Posted in Software

Tagged with , , , , ,

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