Hard Drive Wipe
2 Minute Miracle

OBJECTIVE

Many people have old computers they want to get rid of, but it is important to make sure personal information is removed before discarding the computer. Simply erasing is not enough. Some data recovery software may make it possible to retrieve the data if you just hit the erase key. In this tutorial, we will explain how to completely wipe data off the hard drive of your computer. When you have completed the steps below you can rest assured your private data has been completely destroyed.


WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  1. A blank CD
  2. A copy of Darik's Boot and Nuke (available at http://www.dban.org)
  3. A PC with a CD burner (or DVD burner)
  4. CD/DVD burning software (Ahead Nero, Roxio Creator, etc.)

PROCEDURE

Get Darik's Boot and Nuke

  1. Visit http://www.dban.org and click on the "download" option.
  2. Under "Preview Releases" click on the link for the latest software and tell it to download to your desktop (i.e. "save" instead of "run").
  3. Once you have it downloaded, you will need to burn it to a blank CD. Follow the directions for the CD burning software you have on your computer.

Precautions

Please note that you will want to back up your data BEFORE starting this process. Once you start the wipe, any and all data that you had on the PC will be gone!

Geek Squad recommends purchasing an external hard drive for backups, looking into an online backup solution, and/or speaking to a data backup professional (COUGH COUGH Geek Squad Agents COUGH COUGH).

WIPING THE HARD DRIVE

  1. Place the disk into the CD/DVD drive in the computer you wish to wipe.
  2. Reboot the machine, and boot to the disc. You may need to go into the BIOS to set the PC to boot from the CD/DVD drive, or use a temporary boot option to select "Boot from CD".
  3. When the disk loads press "enter" and choose "M" to get to the method screen. Note that the stronger the method you use, the longer it will take for the software to complete the wipe. This can take hours to days in some cases.
  4. After selecting the method, then select the drive you wish to wipe.
  5. Have you backed up all your data yet? No? Then go back and back it all up first.
  6. Once your data is backed up, press F10 to start the process.
  7. Allow the software to complete the process before turning off the machine.

Watch The 2 Minute Miracle

Transcript

Hello, I'm Ron, an Agent with the Geek Squad.

Many people have old computers that they want to get rid of, but want to make sure their personal information is removed before they discard the computer. Today we'll show you how to wipe the data on the hard drive of your computer.

Simply erasing the hard drive isn't enough as data recovery software may make it possible to recover the data later. The first step in wiping the data off your hard drive is to get the proper software to do so. In this case Derik’s Boot and Nuke. Download a copy from DBAN.org and burn it to a CD, place a CD in the old computer and reboot the machine, you may need to enter into the BIOS to set it to boot from CD or DVD or use a temporary boot option to select boot from CD or DVD. When the boot screen loads up press Enter and choose ‘M’ to get to the method screen. From here you can choose the type of wipe to perform. The stronger the method you use the longer it will take to run, in some cases several days.

For our purposes, overriding the entire hard drive seven times with the 1's and 0's called 0 filling will be sufficient, so select the DOD 5220.22-M option. At this time select which hard drive you wish to wipe and then hit F10 to start.

Haven't backed up your data yet? Stop! Go out and purchase a backup drive, look into an online data storage option or speak to a data backup professional, because once you go beyond this step any data on the hard drive will be lost forever.

So you backed up your data then go ahead and hit F10. Congratulations! Your hard drive is busy being wiped of all data. Being overridden seven times with 1’s and 0’s will make it nearly impossible to recover any data off that drive. So when you recycle or dispose of it you can be sure it is clean and empty.

Thanks for tuning in. We hope this helps you understand how to wipe the data off your hard drive. There are other data erasing applications out there so feel free to use whichever one you feel most comfortable with.

Need more help? Visit www.geeksquad.com for more information and to check out our other 2 Minute Miracles on how to make the most out of your technology.

Want additional help with your digital photos give us a call at 1-800-433-5778, check us out online or visit a Geek Squad Precinct at a Best Buy store near you.


Need More Help?

If you didn't get the results you were hoping for or the just the thought of "booting into the BIOS" gives you nightmares, don't worry  our highly skilled and fashionable Agents are standing by.

Chat with an Agent online, by phone at 1-800-433-5778, or at a Geek Squad Precinct inside a Best Buy® store near you.