Storage

Five tools that ensure your personal information is securely erased

Active Kill Disk 1

This screenshot gallery is also available as a post in the Five Apps Blog.

When it comes to disposing of old hard drives, simply erasing your files or reformatting the drive alone is not enough to ensure your privacy. In this age of rampant ID theft, it is more important than ever to ensure that your personal information is securely removed from all hard disks. That being the case, I decided to create a list of five utilities for securely erasing and formatting old hard drives.

Active@Kill Disk – Hard Drive Eraser

Active@ Kill Disk – Hard Drive Eraser is a free utility for securely erasing a hard drive. More importantly, this utility adheres to United States Department of Defense standards (DoD 5220.22M) for hard disk data removal.

Images by Brien Posey for TechRepublic

5 comments
spencershawn
spencershawn

Thank you for that information. I don't want anyone to see my files and have been looking into <a href="http://www.sugarhousearchives.com/">shredding services in salt lake city ut</a>. Has anyone every tried using them? They seem pretty good.

internetexplorer
internetexplorer

it is very tiring (and trying) to have to click over and over again to go from page to page and print out such an article. Why not put it on the fewest possible number of (web) pages instead of apparently being determined to get it on the most possible number of slides. FWIW. your approach would not seem to be compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thanks.

Garden Gnome
Garden Gnome

One of the UK computer magazines did a survey of commercial erasure software two years ago (or so), and concluded that the cheapest and most secure item was a four pound lump hammer. A conclusion (and a tool) difficult to argue with!

Gisabun
Gisabun

WDC's Lifeguard will do a wipe but even the site says it is not a 100% poerfect solution - not DoD or any other standard.

Haligonian
Haligonian

There are a lot of similar tools out there. Hard drive manufacturers have tools available. As an example Western Digital's Data Lifeguard tool includes an option to write 0s to the entire hard drive. Some other partitioning and hard drive management tools include wipe options as well. Minitool's Partition Wizard includes a few different options including the DoD standards for secure wiping of disks. Your PC manufacturer may also have a free tool. Lenovo has a tool called Secure Data Disposal. It was originally written by IBM, but then transferred to Lenovo when they bought IBM's PC business unit. In addition, some system optimization tools like TuneUp Utilities have secure shredding for files and folders. So, there are lots of choices out there, but check the tools you already have. You might already have this capability in one of your other tools.