Don't Just Erase Your Hard Drive, Wipe It Clean

Services for Real Estate Pros with Mercari Consulting (formerly Brochures by Design)

Prior to disposing of your old PC, laptop or PDA, make sure you wipe your hard drive clean.

Don't just delete everything from it because, according to PC World, "Deleting just the sensitive files may not protect you fully. Unidentified copies of those files could exist in ‘unused' parts of your hard drive, or in your swap file, among other possible locations. It's a good idea to wipe these areas of your drive as well - or go the surefire route and wipe your entire hard drive."

In the August 21, 2006 issue of Information Week, it said "researchers purchased used computers at auctions or computer fairs in Australia, Germany, North America and the United Kingdom. When they examined the hard drives in those computers, they found a surprising amount of sensitive data still intact, including payroll information, IP addresses, cell phone numbers and bank and credit card information."

There are several free programs (or with trial versions) you can download to adequately do the job.

And I'm sure there are many others; just do a Google search for "wipe hard drive clean" and you'll find one to fit your needs as well as your pocketbook.

Comments (5)

Michael Roberts
Real Estate Professionals of Glynn - Saint Simons Island, GA
Good Comment.  I'd usggest use several of these commercial products but there are two other methods which on current HD's works.  First and least distructive would be to simply open up your computer and pass a magnet several times directly over the surface or the most effective is to simply break it into tiny pieces.  For even with the best commercial swipers according to my son (who is a forsensic data specialist for a government agency) he can still retrieve data which is usable from most swiped HD's....
Apr 19, 2007 01:30 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Evy, thank you for the reminder.  Years ago I used to just give my old computers away not even realizing the information stored on there...thank you for the advice (and the magnet method as well).
Apr 19, 2007 01:51 AM
Teresa Berger
Innovate Services - Abington, PA
Evy, great, useful information that could really save people a lot of stress and time in the long run.  Who wants to increase their risk of identity theft?  This is something I'm sure my husband deals with every day as a Systems Admin. 
Apr 19, 2007 11:39 AM
Evy Williams

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Glad I could help.


May 01, 2007 05:00 AM