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Completely Wiping PC Hard Drive

#1
Hi guys,

I've got an absolutely ancient PC sat upstairs in the attic. I'm wanting to get rid of it, or maybe donating it to that charity, Computers4Africa, and I want to completely wipe the hard-drive so there's no details left on it.

Now it isn't connected to the Internet, so I can't download any of the programs I see when I search for advice on Google. Is there anything I can do, just directly with the machine, to get rid of everything stored on there? Bear in mind, I'm okay with computers, but nothing technical, otherwise my head'll explode.

Thanks in advance.
 
#3
#8
Remove the hard drive and bend the pins on the connector socket right over - anyone tries to straighten them will break them off. Snip the power pins.
 
#9
Take the HDD out before you dispose of the computer is the safe option; as Smudge says formatting won't truly delete everything. Bashing it with a big hammer until it's in tiny pieces is the low-tech but secure (and quite fun) option.
 
#10
Take the HDD out before you dispose of the computer is the safe option; as Smudge says formatting won't truly delete everything. Bashing it with a big hammer until it's in tiny pieces is the low-tech but secure (and quite fun) option.
Have you tried smashing a HDD? They're nails..
 
#12
I returned a computer to PC World a few years ago. I thought I had wiped everything on it until my wife (Heidi) got a call from a woman who had just purchased it. All the contact details were still on there.
What made it worse was the desktop which I created using the Paint program, "My name is Heidi and I am a mong!" didn't go down too well!!
 
#14
I'm wanting to get rid of it, or maybe donating it to that charity, Computers4Africa, and I want to completely wipe the hard-drive so there's no details left on it.
As previously suggested, DBAN should do the trick, no problem. Download it on your current computer and burn it to a CD?
 
#16
I usually drill a few holes through before binning a drive.

If you want to try something that doesn't destroy the platter, get hold of a DOS disk, run FDISK and delete all partitions.

If there was more than one partition create a new partition that takes up the whole drive and format that.
If there was only one original partition, create at least two new partitions (that take up the whole drive between them) and format them.

What ever, run FDISK, delete all partitions and leave it unpartitioned.
 
#17
A guy sold me his HP Pavilion; he'd done a full reformat and reinstall from the OEM disks, so it looked "factory fresh". Whilst setting it up for myself, I noticed that there was "recover data" utility or similar on the system partition. I idly clicked on it - and it completely reinstalled all of the guy's files, including his email folder.

Best to remove the HDD completely....
 
#18
I usually drill a few holes through before binning a drive.
That works.

What ever, run FDISK, delete all partitions and leave it unpartitioned.
That doesn't.

DBAN - it writes multiple bit-patterns to all the accessible disk area - it's not been through the assurance process that Blancco and other commercial tools have, and there may be some recoverable information in clusters marked as bad but if you've got that level of expertise after you, they're going to get you anyway!
 
#19
That works.

That doesn't.

DBAN - it writes multiple bit-patterns to all the accessible disk area - it's not been through the assurance process that Blancco and other commercial tools have, and there may be some recoverable information in clusters marked as bad but if you've got that level of expertise after you, they're going to get you anyway!
It does. Have you tried? DBAN is a good option if you can get a copy - and the old machine has a CD drive.
 
#20
It does. (fdisk and leaving it unpartitioned) Have you tried?
Err, yes, would you believe it? It's an early exercise on most basic computer forensics courses. I happen to do computer forensics as part of my day and TA roles. Which is argument from authority but ...

Formatting does next to nothing. You'll lose some of the root file entries - but you can recover the files themselves.

wwww.dban.org - if his computer is sufficiently ancient that it doesn't even have a CD drive, I'd question how valuable it would be to a charity.

Adds - if something that simple did work, why does a cash-strapped MoD insist we purge everything with Blancco or destroy it?
 

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