How to Sanitize Your Hard Drive to Prevent Data Loss
Important information remains on your hard drive after it has been deleted. Emptying the recycle bin only erases the visible document. Unfortunately, MS Word creates and stores 4 copies of each document on your hard drive. Therefore, when one document is deleted a data recovery program can still recover the document. Therefore, it is important to securely erase the contents of your hard drive before disposing of it.
Furthermore, if you format the hard drive a data recovery service can still recover your data. The only secure method to erase a hard drive is by writing data over the top of the existing data. Therefore, you need a program that can destroy the contents of your hard drive.
Data destruction software will remove all traces of a virus or data from your hard drive. This is the only secure and safe method to use if you plan on recycling or disposing of your hard drive.
4 Free Data Destruction Programs
- DBAN: DBAN is a free software program that completely erases the contents of any hard drive. Furthermore, if your Windows OS was infected with a virus or malware the program will sanitize your hard drive. Download the software from DBAN official website.
- Format Command With Windows Write Zero Option: Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft changed the disk format command. When you select a complete format the program fills your hard drive with zeros. This procedure completely wipes all traces of data from the hard drive. However, if you use a quick format the data remains on the hard drive.
- Macrorit: Macrorit wipes and permanently deletes the data stored on your partitions. This is an excellent program to clean your hard drive’s partitions. Unfortunately, the only way to clean the primary partition is on another computer. The program only runs on Windows OS and can’t be installed on a MAC or Linux computer.
- Eraser: The data destruction program has some unique features for wiping your partitions. Schedule disk wipes of your partitions or secondary hard drives using the advanced options. The program won’t wipe your primary partition. Therefore, it is necessary to use a second computer to destroy all data on the hard drive.
Never dispose of your hard drive before securely wiping all data from the drive. Anyone who retrieves your hard drive has access to your important information. Therefore, it is recommended that you install a data destruction program on your computer. Use the program to sanitize your hard drive before you recycle or dispose of it. Furthermore, a data destruction program can clean an infected hard drive from viruses or malware.