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by ladydw41 / September 22, 2008 7:11 AM PDT

I would appreciate some help. I bought a new computer & will be donating my old one to someone who needs it. However, I would like to erase all of my files. Is there software that I use to erase files. I can only download from my new computer, so it is necessary that I am able to transfer the software easily to my old computer. If there is such software, does it erase the operating systems or just the personal files?
Thank you in advance.

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Software for wiping out hardware
by pusz4frog / September 22, 2008 7:28 AM PDT

Hi. I am new here, and I have often wondered this very same thing. I have 2 computers sitting on the floor, waiting for something to be done with them.

Thank you for asking such a great question. I look forward to seeing responses to this thread.

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Two Free Disc Wiping Programs I Use..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / September 22, 2008 7:51 AM PDT

..There are others available but both the programs below can be placed on floppy discs or CDs and will wipe ALL data from the hard drive, including the operating system. After placing the program on the disc, you'll need to boot from the floppy or CD, then run the program using the instructions at the site.

Dban (The free version includes multiple erase options including a DoD wipe routine.)

Killdisk (The free version of Killdisk only writes once to the drive so it's not a full DoD wipe unless you purchase the product... but multiple passes using the free version, in effect, perform a similar, effective disc wipe.

Hope this helps.


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Two Free Disc Wiping Program Files
by pusz4frog / September 25, 2008 11:09 AM PDT

Thank you so much for the information. I'm not at home right now, but I look forward to trying it out.

So, once I do this, the computers will still come on and power up, there just won't be ANY programs left on them? If that's the case, I want to be sure to mark them clearly so they don't get put into my good computer by my son!

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Yep, that is correct
by lacsr / September 25, 2008 10:06 PM PDT

There will be nothing of useful value left on the harddrive after you run one of these programs.

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Be Careful
by helljack6 / September 25, 2008 11:26 PM PDT

If you choose to use DBAN because it does NOT discriminate between multiple drives. It WILL erase any and all drives attached to the machine including removable media drives.

I use either DBAN or BCWipePD, both will do a DoD 7 pass wipe, but BCWipePD will also do a Putnam 35 pass wipe.

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Just To Clarify.. More Than 'Programs' Are Removed..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / September 26, 2008 6:12 AM PDT

Basically, EVERYTHING is removed from the drive which is wiped. Yes, the computer will power on and the BIOS will still function as it should, assuming it functioned before you wiped the drive. (You'll see a POST screen) You'll need to reinstall an operating system, drivers, and all other programs, FROM SCRATCH, if you want the computer to perform as expected.

Hope this helps.


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I'd suggest this
by Dango517 / September 26, 2008 3:23 PM PDT
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Securely delete just your personal files
by 3rdalbum / September 26, 2008 8:47 PM PDT

1. Delete your personal files normally through Windows.
2. Boot up a Linux live CD. Make sure it's one that will automatically mount your internal NTFS hard disk as read/write. I think Ubuntu does that these days.
3. Go to Places > Computer and double-click on Filesystem. Go to the "media" folder. Your hard disk will be inside one of these folders. Make a note of which one it is.
4. For our purposes, we'll assume that it's in a folder called "sda1", inside "media" on the Filesystem. Go to a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and type the following:

sudo dd if=/dev/urandom of=/media/sda1/deleteme.dat

This will create a file called "deleteme.dat" inside your hard drive. It will take up all the free space on your disk, thus overwriting all deleted files. After it has finished, go to the file browser again and delete the "deleteme.dat" file.

If you want to, run the command again to re-overwrite the free space on your disk. You can run the command again by going to the terminal window (assuming you haven't closed it), pressing the up arrow to make it appear, and then pressing Enter.

MAKE SURE YOU DELETE THE DELETEME.DAT FILE BEFORE BOOTING WINDOWS AGAIN otherwise Windows will not have any free disk space to start up in.

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An Easier Approach to wiping drive.
by ClaudeM / September 27, 2008 5:42 AM PDT

Consider the nature of the data to be destroyed and the time you want to allocate to destroying it. If it is simply personal data, pics, etc and would not be something that someone would go to extreme measures to recover it, then try one of the following approaches:
F-Disk tha drive and then reformat it. You can do this from any start-up disk for Windows from the W98 to WME time period.
Or, just simply use the restore disk or utility , delete the existing partition if asked, and perform a clean install. If recovery is an option, such as HP and others, then just use the restore function but with the option not to preserve the data. Your data will not be accessible to the ordinary user and both these approaches are much faster.

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Erasing old data
by guywayne / September 27, 2008 2:03 PM PDT

If you don't care about the os, DBAN is a great tool. If you want to keep the operating system intact for future use, I like Eraser ( It will erase files, folders, empty space, or even entire disks. I usually delete everything that I want gone, (don't forget windows settings and password files, MRU files, empty the recycle bin, temp files and folders, and that sort of info) and erase the unused space, then defrag and erase the unused space again. You may miss a few items, but you can still use the computer without needing to reinstall the os. Unless you have some critical info on the computer (online banking info or medical info) you can afford to have a few files left behind. It all depends upon your security needs.
On the other hand, if your computer is more than 3 or 4 years old, DBAN and the installing Ubuntu is probably the best thing that you could do for it!

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Software for Wiping Out Hard Drive
by justvic8 / November 11, 2008 12:18 AM PST

I've found Kill Disk very helpful.

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