Wipe your hard drive before giving away or selling your old computer

By | October 1, 2011
Print pagePDF page

Many of you will be getting new computers soon – Christmas is coming and all of that. And about half of you are still using Windows XP – and that’s fine. But those machines are getting older and the problems are going to increase – and in 2014 Windows is going to stop supporting XP which means you won’t be able to get Windows updates which means you’ll be using a computer susceptible to may security risks, and you don’t want to do that. So a new computer is probably in your future…

If you’re planning on getting a new computer – or if you’re tired of being tethered to a desktop ad you’re going to be moving to a laptop – like we have done – then you might want to consider giving away that old computer to someone who would be happy to have it. In these tough economic times many families cannot afford a computer. Can you imagine being in school these days and not having a computer in your home?

Whether you’re planning to give your old computer away or sell it, protect yourself by completely wiping the hard drive and then reinstalling the operating system. It’s not that you don’t trust people – it’s just that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember that everything you’ve ever typed on your computer is still there somewhere on your hard drive – including credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, etc. And there are many forensic programs that can read data from hard drives which have been formatted and even from hard drives which have been formatted and on which Windows has bee reinstalled. And some of these forensic programs are cheap – or even free. You never know what someone is going to do with your old computer – curiosity sometimes overwhelms.

Here’s another program we found you can use to wipe your hard drive so that no data can be recovered from it – not even those using expensive professional forensic recovery tools. The program is call KillDisk.

Now you’re going to see on the KillDisk site that show all the features of KillDisk Pro (not free) vs. KillDisk free. You don’t need erase your hard drive to Department of Defense standards. In fact we read a review of KillDisk where the tester used the free version of KillDisk to wipe a hard drive then took it to a professional recovery service to see if any data could be recovered from the disk. The recovery service could recover nothing from the computer at all. So unless you’re going to be giving your computer to the NSA or CIA or some other spy agency, the freeware version will work just fine for you.

Now were going to issue you a STRONG WARNING. Do NOT use KillDisk on a computer you want to keep and use because it WILL wipe your hard drive and you’ll lose everything – including Windows. This program is only for erasing everything from your hard drive so you can reinstall Windows and sell or give your computer to someone. DO NOT USE IT ON A COMPUTER you want to keep.

You can read more about KillDisk Free from this page: http://killdisk.com/

KillDisk works with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 – all versions (32bit and 64bit).

Wipe your hard drive before you sell or give your old computer away — you’ll sleep better.

5 thoughts on “Wipe your hard drive before giving away or selling your old computer

  1. Ron Warn

    That was excellent information. I didn’t know that operation could be done but I will certainly use it soon!! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  2. madeline

    i had already given my screen,keyboard,printer and scanner away…kept the computer because i forgot to clean it out and the base of it was sealed shut….cannot open it….is it safe to take a sledge hammer to it without me getting killed or shocked in any way??

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Why would you need to take a sledgehammer to it? The article tells you how to wipe the hard drive. That’s all we’re saying. You can crush the computer if you want. There may be residual charge left in the computer but I don’t think you’re in danger of electrocution using a sledge hammer. I think most of those have wooden handles. It seems like a lot of word that isn’t necessary.

      Reply
  3. Anon

    Hi,
    Thank you for writing it this helpful blog post.
    I have a question about KillDisk and I wonder if you could help me. When I read the Kill Disk user manual, it said that there are 2 options when running Kill Disk: “Erase Data” or “Wipe Data from Unoccupied Drive Space.” Do you know if the “Erase Data” option also performs the functions of the “Wipe data” option?
    I’m trying to scrub my hard drive as thoroughly as possible, so should I run the “Erase Data” option, and then when that is finished, run the “Wipe Data” option? Or does running the “Erase data” option automatically include the steps win the “Wipe data” option without my specifying it?
    Thanks so much for your help.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Wipe Data is only useful if you want to save the data on the disk. Wipe Data only overwrites the free space on the disk but does not remove any data. In Windows, when you delete a file it’s not really deleted — the space that it occupies is marked free (or available) for use. Windows sees it as free space — but the file you deleted is still there. Wipe Data simple “wipes” these deleted files by overwriting it many times with gibbberish — essentially preventing anyone from recovering deleted files. You’d use Wipe Data when you wanted to be sure that the files you’ve deleted cannot be recovered — but you wanted to keep using your computer normally. Wipe Data only wipes the spaced marks as “Free space” on your hard drive.

      Erase Data — overwrites everything — completely. So you would not use this on a computer you intended to use.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Ron Warn Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *