Donating hard drives, how do I get rid of all my personal data?

Happy Friday! Sorry I missed you all last week, I was out sick, and didn’t have the chance to write and send out this newsletter. But I’m back in the healthy saddle again, so here we go. This topic of donating hard drives probably couldn’t come at a better time, as I’m sure many folks who may be less fortunate can benefit from this donation from Kathy. But before handing these hard drives off to charity, we want to ensure that none of Kathy’s personal data can be retrieved by others.

Kathy received an abundance of answers to help her remove personal data from these hard drives, ranging from hard-drive software utilities to wipe the drive clean, to the suggestion of taking a sledgehammer to them to ensure no one gets a chance to see what’s on that drive. (Although we’re not sure how useful that is, if the drive has been beaten to smithereens.) While some members suggested that Kathy simply reformat the hard drive, others said that performing a basic reformat simply isn’t good enough. And to properly ensure that her personal data is not retrievable, most members recommended that she purge her drives with the help of a software utility that will overwrite her entire drive with 0s and 1s. With that said, while there are many suggested utilities, the two most mentioned were Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) and Active@ KillDisk; both titles are free and come highly recommended.

There are many great answers to go around this week, so if you are contemplating on doing the good deed of donating your computer or hard drives, give this week’s answers a read. I’m sure after you’ve gone through them, you’ll be in good shape to ensure that your private data on your hard drive stays private before passing it along to others. If you have any additional methods of purging your data from hard drives (other than in a destructive manner), swing on by and post your recommendations. Thanks everyone for your contribution. Stay healthy and have a great weekend!

By Lee Koo CNET Community manager

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