Our Computer Help forum. There are programs to wipe drives clean.
Try searching the forum for posts about DBAN.
I've been using a Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop which my brother's company purchased for me to use over 2 years ago, I want to stress use and not keep although he never did tell me he would ever want it back but since I dropped it back in January 2008 and killed it's monitor at some point in time he might want it back. I've already obtained an estimate from Dell on what they would charge to fix it, Dell's estimate in my opinion was too much considering the fact that the laptop is over 2 years old. I also tried buying a used Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop off of Ebay for a possible monitor switch out but that didn't work out as planned besides it was kind of risky anyway.
So now I'm considering shipping the damaged laptop back to my bro's company but before I do what could I do or what should I do to wipe the laptop's hard drive clean of my personal data before I ship it back short of removing the hard drive from the computer altogether? I have some emails stored on the computer, some Quicken, not much else. If I went ahead and deleted that information first and then shipped it back could the IT guy who gets the computer back go into the computer and be able to retrieve all of the information which I deleted?
Or if I decided to go ahead and remove the computer's hard drive first before I shipped it back, once it got back in my bro's hands with the original hard drive now gone could he turn it over to his company's IT guy to see if he, the IT guy could restore any personal information I had stored on the computer up until the time I dropped it? Could the IT guy pop in a new hard drive and be able to bring up all of my data which is presently stored on the laptop's existing hard drive? I won't go into more details except to ask what my options are for me to protect my information on the laptop's present hard drive before I decide to ship the laptop back to the bro's company.