1. Bear in mind that files you deleted are not truly deleted. Data can remain even after that part of the physical disk is overwritten a number times!
2. Save all the files you really need. It’s a terrible feeling when you realize that you forgot to save a folder of pictures or an important Word document. Take a little time to search through your hard drive to make sure that you collected everything you need. Burn these files to a CD-ROM or save them to another kind of external media.
3. Reformat your hard drive. The procedure with this will differ depending on what kind of operating system you are using. If you’re using Windows XP, just insert the install CD-ROM you received when you bought the computer and delete your hard drive’s partition. This is usually “C:”(primary Partition). You must then create a new C: partition and then format it using that install disc. Choose the “quick format” option and your hard drive is cleared.
4. Invest in a program that truly obliterates the data on your hard drive if you want everything really clean. The best programs perform this act to the Department of Defense’s 5220.22-M standard. Just install the program and follow the onscreen directions to clear your drive.
5. Employ the hard drive’s best friend and worst enemy: magnetism. Your hard drive aligns or shifts magnetic particles to save data. If you have a big or strong enough magnet, you can destroy this organization and end up with a hard drive that has absolutely no data on it at all. You should remove the hard drive before you do this, so you don’t cause a problem in your other components.
10 Tips for Clearing a Hard Drive
- Your browser logs every website you have visited.
- Your computer contains many temporary web page files.
- Adware and cookie files can be used to spy on your web surfing.
- Many programs store passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.
- Pressing the Delete key will not erase a file permanently.
- Programs often make use of temporary files when performing program functions.
- Autosave backup files are automatically generated by some applications.
- Windows stores your search terms.
- Swap files inadvertently contain sensitive data.
- Gaps between files contain old data.
- Permanently removing sensitive data requires advanced hard drive clean up software.