Friday, March 16, 2007

Wiping old hard disks

An In.Tech reader inquired:

I have an old hard disk which I’ve not used for a long time but before I send it to be recycled I want to make sure all the data is wiped out. Any idea where I can get this done?

B. Rozario
via e-mail

Well, you certainly have reason to be cautious.
In a 2005 study, a British research team bought 100 hard disks off eBay and found half of them still contained sensitive information, including insurance records, biographical information about children, and even “blackmail material” such as details of sex sites visited by users.
Assuming you still have a floppy drive, or a computer which supports booting from USB flash drives, a good solution would be Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) an open-source program which securely wipes the hard disks of most computers.
It can be obtained from
The program creates a bootable floppy disk or USB flash drive which will then load a wipe program which can be used on any hard disk connected to the computer.
Of course, you’d want to lock up or erase the DBAN floppy disk around after you’re done because this is a powerful utility.
The author also provides steps for creating bootable CD. Be sure to read the FAQ at

No comments: