Safely dispose of computer's hard drive
This page is not about to share how to physically destroy a hard drive, but how to safely wipe out data on the hard drive in an old computer.
Destroy a hard drive in an old computer with a harmer is easy, but when the hard drive is still in service year and can be used for backup disk on the Server side, we need a more proper way to deal with it.
Wiping out data from the hard drive or disks is the secure way to keep data safe and make the hard disk reusable for other users. After erasing of sensitive data, many drives can find their second life in other users' hands.
How to erase data safely before we dispose computers' hard drives when data recovery is become so common and easy in those days?
First we should disassemble the computer and remove the hard drive with other recyclable parts. You can then properly dispose of computer parts, and before which we can connect the hard drive to the daily using computer and download the data sanitation program ByebyeData Eraser, install it and Run it as administrator. For many computers' motherboard, we can only connect as many as four hard drives to it, so if there're many old disks, you can use another modern computer or just wait for the first four finished their work if you're not in a hurry.
Click Entire disk in ByebyeData Eraser and reload all the disks, then the disks you have connected are listed here. Select them all and then specify a wiping method for them, then click Erase Now and confirm.
Since ByebyeData Eraser is designed to be easy to use, you can do data cleaning without extra guide. In the example above, you must have found that the boot disk cannot be selected, only the data disks, the disks contains no running Windows OS can be wiped. But if you want to wipe out all the disks including the Windows OS, the "create bootable" media function can help. When you get a bland CD ready, you can burn the ISO file to it, then all the disks are clickable.
The final step is to find the local charity who would like to take old computers' hard drives and parts, just search the keyword with your town's name.
1. If you have once deleted all the hard drives' files before you put them into the attic, you can just use the erase free space function to wipe all the deleted files' space, so there's no traces of any previous files.
2. Charities would like to take less than 3 years old hard drives; they can perform almost the same as a new disk if they're not heavily used. For 5 years old hard drives, it's better to destroy them with the conventional methods: harmer or fire.
ByebyeData Eraser is able to wipe multiple disks, so when all the four hard drive are connected and selected, you can just wait for the result without clicking any button on the computer.
1. All the hard drives you removed from old computers have operating system installed, but they can still be erased when they connected to other computer. ByebyeData eraser will not erase the booting system but will erase all the external hard drives or newly connected hard drives, no matter they were system installed or not. Besides, the current boot disk still can be erased when you boot from CD.
2. Different overwrite methods' erasing speed vary. Simple overwrite methods are the fastest ones while advanced overwrite methods go for the medium speed, the complex erasing plans go for the slow speed and the very complex algorithm is the slowest one to erase data. Please do not choose the 35 passes plan, the very complex overwrite method, or the Peter Gutmann's algorithm, for multiple disks erasing when each of the disk has very large size and when you don't have weeks to wait.
3. Please backup essentials before erasing. Once ByebyeData Eraser starts to erase, there's no way to get data or anything back, even if you try a professional data recovery program. You can erase individual files and folders on the disk when the rest of space are unused to save time and effort.
This guide page is work for both who donate the computer and those who take the computer's hard drive. Cleaning previous data off is good for both of them to protect private information and safe clean install new system.