In this post, I’ll give you a quick tip on how to completely and securely erase your hard drive. Why would you want to do this? So your data does not fall into the wrong hands.  Depending on where you are sending the hard drive, you may have a different approach.

Do you just need to dispose of the hard drive?  Then you can just smash it with a sledge hammer or drill through the platters

Do you need to return the hard drive with a computer to the manufacturer because the computer is defective?  Do you need to take the computer back to the store?  You can securely erase the hard drive in this case to Department of Defense standards.  Companies that work with government data must do this.  The standard consists of writing 1’s and 0’s across the hard drive randomly seven times through.  There is a free tool that will do this for you.  It is called “Darik’s Boot and Nuke”.  Available for download from the DBAN website, this handy utility can be burned to a CD, and you can boot the computer off of the CD to run the erase utility.  Keep in mind that this completely wipes your hard drive.  So anything you want to keep, make sure you copy it off first!  The utility will ask you how many passes you’d like to run.  If you use 3, you should be pretty safe, but again DoD standard is 7 passes.

You will need to let the computer run for quite some time to complete the passes as it is a slow process.  But, this is very worth it if you need to keep the hard drive intact physically and want to make sure your data will not fall into the wrong hands!