Securely remove data from your disk drive

runs on Windows
screenshot of KillDisk

If you've got an old computer disk that you're getting rid of, the best way to make sure that none of your data from that disk is available to anyone else is to physically destroy it. In the case of a floppy disk (kids, ask your parents), it's easy (and sometimes mildly therapeutic) to break the case open, rip the little disk out, and go to town with hole punch, scissors, and other such tools of mayhem. For a hard drive, drilling several holes through the case and platters can help make your data unrecoverable. But if you're donating last year's computer to charity or putting it up on eBay, you've kind of ruined it for the next guy. Unfortunately, though, even if you erase the disk and reformat it, you still run the risk of somebody's being able to get your stuff back.

KillDisk is a tool that can help take the worry out of that scenario. Fire it up, point it at your drive, and your data will be deleted in such a way as to make it impossible to recover via undelete and unformat tools. Now you can sell, donate, or recycle your machine without fearing that your finances and everything else will become part of the public record.

KillDisk is a free download for your Windows system. If you decide you want to be even more secure, they also have a paid version that incorporates several additional secure delete options you can use.

Download KillDisk

2 Responses to “Securely remove data from your disk drive”

  1. Patrick B says:

    CMRR’s HDDErase utility takes advantage of a drive’s built-in feature to erase.

    http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml

    “HDDerase.exe is a DOS-based utility that securely erases “sanitizes” all data on ATA hard disk drives in Intel architecture computers (PCs). It offers the option to run the drive internal secure erase command, security erase unit, based on the ATA specification by the T13 technical committee. “

  2. TT says:

    Actually, it’s only slightly more secure than a full format unless you buy the license version. Writing the drive to all zeros isn’t the safest method (though it’s better than simply using the Windows delete functionality)