Ask the Answer Guy – What is the best way to securely wipe a hard drive?

Brent - What is the best way to ensure
that nobody can recover
any information from a hard drive that's being thrown away?

This is a question that we're asked
all the time. While the average user will simply reformat the drive, the
average "techie" has access to the kinds of software that can
retrieve the information from the drive. There are a couple software options
out there that will do a really good job at writing meaningless information
to the entire drive (thus destroying what you had stored on it).

If you are trying to erase an external
or non-operating system drive, you can use a piece of software from Acronis
called Acronis Drive Cleanser 6.0. For $49.99, it will erase any partition
or entire drive you tell it to and make sure the data won't be recovered.
The easy-to-follow step-by-step wizard makes Drive Cleanser 6.0 a perfect
solution when you are getting rid of an old PC, upgrading a hard drive,
returning a leased computer or re-deploying a PC within your company.

The other option, while being free,
takes a bit more know-how. It is called Darik's Boot And Nuke. It is a
self-contained boot disk that automatically and securely wipes the contents
of any hard disk that it can detect. With the power to prevent all known
techniques of hard disk forensic analysis, Darik's Boot And Nuke comes
in handy when wiping a drive to throw away / sell or to clean up for a
new Windows installation, but be careful. Darik's Boot And Nuke will wipe
ANY Hard Drive plugged into your system at the time of booting.


About Brent Whitfield

Brent Whitfield is CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc., which provides IT Support in the Los Angeles area since 1993. DCG exists to help our clients choose, implement, and manage IT and cloud solutions that are cost effective and reliable. DCG's pro-active approach to IT is ideally suited for companies who depend on reliable IT infrastructure, but don't want to spend a lot of money to keep it that way. DCG was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSP Mentor. Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business.