Ways to erase your data

Physical destruction

Physically taking your drive out of the computer and smashing it is a surefire way to make sure your data is gone. Our favorite tools are hammers, drills, axes, cars, etc. The goal is to damage the magnetic platters inside the drive. Laptop drives are easier to destroy physically than desktop drives. The best way to destroy a desktop drive is to drill a few holes through the platter.

Erasing Data With Software

HDD: Emptying the recycle bin or clicking delete does not permanently erase your data. Deleting information this way only tells the operating system that the data’s space is free. The content can still be on the drive. The only way to ensure the data is gone is to overwrite it.

Programs out there that will help over right data, but some will have different options for the overwrite like 1, 7, or 35 passes of the data that doesn’t follow a pattern. If you erase a lot of data, this can take a while. Older drives wouldn’t read/ write data effectively, so using more passes could better clean the data. By today’s standard, a user should only need to pass over their data once or twice.

SSD: SSDs have a built-in program called TRIM that effectively erases data to ensure it does not get written again (this extends the drive’s life). As a result, SSDs do a great job of deleting information on their own.

If you want to delete information, you will need to know precisely where it is. Some programs, like browsers, store data in unexpected locations. If you are selling or giving your computer away, we recommend formatting the drive and complete a full installation of the operating system.

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