Current IT field related information

08 Jan 09 Cleaning your Hardisk before sacking your old computer/laptop

If you have plans to donate the computer you have used for years to charity or to some one you know, it is worth taking the time to clean the hard disk before passing on your inheritance. This saves you the trouble of having to worry about personal information falling into the wrong hands. Cleaning the hard disk does not involve deleting files by sending them to Recycle Bin, because even so the information is still there. Cleaning the hard disk involves reformatting it, that way you will be sure to clean all valuable information from it. This is usually done preparing it to accept another Operating System. Different operating systems require different procedures , but the aim is the same, to wipe the hard disk of valuable information that could fall into the wrong hands. Assuming you have already backed up all the information that you deemed necessary the next steps are as followed:

For Linux users the process starts with a download of a live CD from Once the Cd had been copied the user boots from the CD. The next step is to use the shred command that was designed specifically for the purpose of deleting files securely. If your hard disk name is /dev/sda or /dev/hda then you type the following command:

#shred -n * -vz /dev/sda —— for sda users
or # shred -n5 -vz/dev/hda—-for hda users
-n*— indicates the number of times you wish the disk to be overwritten (an amount of 25 is sufficient)
-v —-Shows progress and;
-z —- Adds a final overwrite with zeros to hide shredding

There is another option that can be used depending on the amount of information to be destroyed and the urgency of destroying such information. This includes using Darik´s Boot and Nuke CD(DBAN), which is basically self-contained boot disk that automatically and completely cleans your hard disk.

For Windows Users one goes to the start menu, right click on the hard drive and click format.Darik´s Boot and Nuke CD(DBAN) can be used as well if the user wishes to do so. There are hundreds of soft wares on the market that claim to delete your hard drive permanently, based on my research DBAN seems to be the most recommended.

Once you have formatted your hard drive you can now choose the Operating system you wish to load on it. These steps were basically outlined with the intention to educate users about the importance of sanitizing their hard drives in the event they wish to discard or give away their computers/laptop.There are many businesses however that have not adopted any policy to dispose of used corporate records, the result sensitive information falling in the hands of hungry criminals waiting for the next attack. A plan should be laid out whether individual/cooperate, to ensure that the person entrusted to do such procedures is qualified and above all trustworthy.

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