Getting rid of an old PC – wipe the hard drive!!

I’ve said it before and mentioned DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) as my favorite tool for this, but Sunbeltblog is mentioning this and it’s worth reminding you. When you replace a PC, you might keep the hard drive around for a short period to make sure you have all your data, but PLEASE plan on finding some way to delete or wipe or nuke or destroy ALL the data on the drive.

I read stories very often of people picking up a second hand pc or an old hard drive with someone else’s data on it. The first drive I got for my “frankenstein” machine about 10 years ago was a used drive that no one had bothered to wipe. Make it a priority. It’s easy to do, DBAN is a free download and will install to either a boot floppy or a cdrom. You should be careful that you’ve already copied any data you need from the drive and that you have only connected drives to the PC that you want utterly wiped clean. In other words treat the disc like a dangerous weapon, carefully remove it from the tray after writing, label it carefully in red and put it where you would not accidentally use it to boot a machine. DBAN offers several different ways to wipe the data from a hard drive, including a DoD grade wipe. I’ve read that the Department of Energy uses DBAN to wipe old systems under their jurisdiction.

So, even if you think the PC is JUST going to a landfill, WIPE the drive.

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