You may erase a file and you think it's gone, but it really isn't. You may format the hard drive and believe that everything is gone, but again it's really not. All that's really happened is you've flagged the space on your hard drive where the file(s) used to reside as over-writable. If you want to be really sure you have to completely wipe a disk clean before you give it away. Here's how to do just that.
Hi. This is Mike Callahan, Dr. File Finder and welcome to your Butterscotch.com tutorial on how to wipe your data clean. Now it’s a common misconception that when you erase a file, it’s gone. And putting up to fact it isn’t gone. The first letter is removed, the file is still there and it’s entirety. It\’s also a misconception that when you format a drive, you completely obliterate everything that’s on it. That’s also a misconception. Statistic show that over 40% of the drive sold on eBay contains easily retrievable data. So if you’re going to give away a computer or a hard drive, you should make sure you wipe it first with a suitable program. Now I’ve listed a number of them in the show notes. All of them work slightly differently. Be sure you read the documentation. Here I have Active@Eraser for Windows. It allows you to do a number of things. For our example, I’m just going to click the download directory. I click under Settings. I can tell it to start at Startup. I can do a manual start. I can have a clean-up list. You can see my download directory is here. I can eve schedule it to run every month, every week, everyday, when it starts at Windows log off. I can also select the erasing method. Now this is what you need to pay attention to. The US Department of Defense is very slow and it’s very high security. When you use that, nobody’s going to retrieve anything, same as true for the German one, the Russian one and Guttmann. For one pass random, and one pass zero which writes zero over the top of all your data is quick but it’s also low security. So if you’re giving away a hard drive, go for one of the stronger types of erasing. For our purposes here, we’re just going to use the quick one. Say OK. I can click here. I can say Erase. It says erase, wipe, and its gone. And it’s not just gone with the first letter missing. It’s totally gone, wiped from this drive and no longer retrievable. You can see erase folder download. It loads the file in it. Erase the other file in it. So it is gone. It is wiped and completely gone. So, if you’re going to giveaway hard drives, giveaway computers, I’m all for it. I do it myself. But before I give them away, I wiped the drive so no data can be retrieved. So that’s how you can wipe your data clean and that’s all there is to it.