As we become increasingly reliant upon the internet and the interconnected nature of our devices, apps, and information, the need to know how to wipe a hard drive has become increasingly important. Everything from your browsing history to your video and download history is available to anyone that accesses your computer. Either legitimately through an app or illegally through hacking, only when you wipe hard drive or storage devices do you truly remove the data.
But I delete my files regularly
Unfortunately, when you delete files by moving them to the recycle bin or trash, the files are still on the hard drive, just not visible to you. The file still exists and only the tag in front of its data has been changed. Because of this, only a hard drive wipe will actually remove or obliterate the data.
How to completely wipe a hard drive
To wipe a hard drive clean, you need to ensure that the data for the file you wish to delete is actually overwritten with new data. The Department of Defense specifies that the data must be overwritten three times in order to be considered properly expunged.
Using hard drive wipe software
Hard drive wiping software works by overwriting the data of specified files with new data. Because these re-writes do not technically obliterate data, the original data must be re-written multiple times while wiping a hard drive. As you can imagine, there are varying degrees to the thoroughness of various software solutions and as such, you should look for one that does a minimum of three overwrites. To ensure data is permanently wiped, we recommend you select software that provides up to seven times overwrite capacity to ensure your data is irretrievable.
Why you should learn how to wipe a hard drive
- Remove sensitive financial information
- Permanently remove corrupted files
- Properly destroy virus files
- To remove your online browsing history and cache
- To permanently delete emails that were only moved to the “trash” by Outlook, Vista Mail, or Outlook Express
- To protect sensitive work-related information you are responsible for
- To permanently remove P2P file-sharing artifacts like those from Limewire, BitTorrent, Azureus, etc.
- To ensure instant messaging files like those from AOL, ICQ, Yahoo, and Windows Messenger applications are properly deleted
Time is of the Essence
Each time you perform a task on your computer, your operating system writes to files on the hard drive. Everything from your online banking transactions to personal information that may be embarrassing or damaging in the hands of others lives on your hard drive even after you’ve moved it to the recycle bin or trash can. Because of this, it is important you learn how to wipe hard drive and make doing so part of your regular computer backup and maintenance regimen.
The best way to wipe hard drive
When we’re asked for a recommendation for how to wipe a hard drive, we always recommend users employ a software solution that is easy to use, offers complete erasure protection, and exceeds U.S. Department of Defense specifications for data deletion. This software uses simple graphic interface to allow users to select the files, folders, partitions, or drives they would like to erase. Additionally, the software offers a thorough deletion option that overwrites files a total of seven times. At more than double the strength recommended by the Department of Defense and with a simple yet powerful user interface, we feel this is the best software available to wipe hard drives.