How to Completely Erase a Computer
Are you preparing to sell, give away or otherwise get rid of a computer? Here’s something you should know:
Even if you think you’ve deleted all of your personal and private data from your computer, there’s still a good chance it can be recovered. This is because of how data is stored by Windows on your hard drive.
When Windows deletes a file it’s really only deleting the location of the data on the hard drive. This makes deleting fast, but it also means that deleted files can be recovered unless something has overwritten them.
If you only need to securely delete a couple of files you can use a file shredder program like the one included with SpeedZooka. But if you want to be absolutely sure that your personal information is fully removed, there really isn’t a good substitute for shredding the whole drive.
Today I’m going to show you an easy way to do just that using a free software program called Darik’s Boot and Nuke, or DBAN for short.
From the DBAN website: “DBAN is a self-contained boot disk that automatically deletes the contents of any hard disk that it can detect. This method can help prevent identity theft before recycling a computer.”
Warning: Shredded files cannot be recovered. Do not shred any files you want to keep.
To use DBAN, you first need to download the program from the DBAN website. DBAN is distributed as an ISO file. Once you’ve download the ISO it needs to be burned to a blank CD. This is because DBAN isn’t like most other programs. Most other programs run on top of Windows as their operating system. DBAN is actually it’s own (very small) operating system that does only one job: shred files on any hard drive it finds.
Restart the computer you would like to completely erase with the DBAN disk in the CD drive. On most computers DBAN should start to run automatically.
DBAN works by overwriting all the data on every hard drive it finds many times, so the shredding process will likely take a couple of hours to finish completely. Once the shredding process is completed, your hard drive will be completely empty. At this point you can sell, give away, or dispose of your computer without having to worry that your personal information could be exposed.
You can download DBAN from the DBAN website here: http://www.dban.org
Got a computer issue you can’t erase? ZookaWare technicians are here 24/7 to help with Remote Technical Support.