How to completely erase your hard disk before selling it or giving it to charity

by | Jul 17, 2009 12:00 AM ET

So you have an old desktop PC or laptop and you want to get rid of it. You are either planning to sell it or give it to charity. The problem is that your old hard drive could contain lots of juicy personal information (financial info, passwords, family photos, etc.) that you don't want circulating freely.

Even if you drag these files to the "trash can", they still exist on the hard disk. How do you erase them permanently? Go to:

Download the free software. Create a boot disk.

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.

Type "autonuke" and it will do the rest.

Another option is a program called KillDisk

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