How to Securely Erase a Hard Drive

To protect your intellectual property and ensure that your business remains compliant with the laws of your state, it is essential that you understand how to securely erase a hard drive. If you intend to recycle the device, you must wipe the external hard drive using the correct tools. You can either securely erase the hard drive on your own or work with a refurbisher that has the mandatory licensing to perform such tasks.

How to Securely Erase a Hard Drive on Your Own

If you’re confident about working with computers, you can learn how to securely erase your hard drive. Go ahead and do this on your own if you don’t have any sensitive data or personal information. Before you get started, create backups of all the important data in the drive by transferring it into removable USB drive or burn it onto a DVD. If your device is more than five years old and you intend to send the device for recycling, you can simply overwrite the hard drive multiple times. According to the U.S. Department of Defense’s “Short” specification, overwriting your data three distinct times with ones and zeroes should be sufficient. You can do this by selecting the appropriate commands for data removal in the built-in program in your computer.

Wiping an External Hard Drive Using Software

If you don’t have a preset program in your computer, you only need to download the DBAN software to securely erase a hard drive. Save it onto a DVD by burning or on a USB drive. Run the software and it will erase all the data on your hard drive. This method is time-consuming and while it runs, you must take care not to interrupt it. At times, it may take a few days also depending on the amount of information contained on your hard drive. To date, this is the best data destruction solution you can use on your own.

How to Securely Erase a SSD

In place of the typical Hard Disk drive (HDD), you might have a Solid State Drive (SSD) installed in your digital device. The SSD functions much like a HDD except that it can work in the absence of power also. All data is saved on interconnected flash memory chips. SSDs come with PATA/IDE drives as in older versions and SATA drives as in the newer versions. You only need to use the command, Secure Erase and you can securely erase a hard drive. If you can’t find the tool, you can find the appropriate software online and use them to clear the hard drive.

Working with a Certified Refurbishing Company

When considering how to securely erase a hard drive, check if your device is less than 5 years old. If you think you can donate the equipment for reuse since it is in good condition, look for a good company that can take care of the data destruction using the prescribed standards. It is advisable to work with a certified company if you have highly sensitive information on the drive such as bank account details, passwords, Social Security data, or any other. Such companies use legally compliant methods to perform thorough data destruction and also provide you with the mandatory certificate of indemnity.

References;
How to more safely dispose of computers and other devices

How to securely erase your hard drive

SSD vs. HDD: What’s the Difference?

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