Whether you are looking to sell an old hard drive or thinking of giving it to a friend, the most essential step is to permanently erase that hard drive. For that, one must know how to completely erase a hard drive.
More than often, people tend to delete the data from their drive and think that the job is done. However, that is far from the case. In reality, there are a few extra steps that you need to take before you think about selling the hard drive to someone.
But before proceeding with any of that, let’s first discuss the difference between deleting and erasing data from a hard drive.
Deleting is not the same as Erasing data from a Hard Drive
Yes, you read that right. If you think that deleting data from your drive is the same as to completely erase a hard drive then, your perspective is about to shift a little.
If you weren’t aware then, keep note that deleting and erasing are two different technical terms. Even so, delete, shred, erase, and wipe are technically different terms with different meanings.
What does it mean to Completely Erase a hard drive?
We know that all the data is stored in binary format. And to completely erase a hard means that data is scrambled into an unreadable format which makes it seem as if the file or data is “lost” to the OS.
Now that we have cleared the concept of permanently deleting hard drive files. Let’s move on to the various methods you can take to achieve the outcome.
Methods to Completely Erase Hard Drive
There are numerous ways that can choose to permanently delete hard drive files. Here, we have discussed all three.
Simply put, you can opt for either of these three methods to completely erase a hard drive. The methods are as follows:
- Use professional software.
- Use a degausser for the destruction.
- Physically destroy the hard drive to make data irretrievable.
Let’s further explore each method and see which one fits you. However, what method you should depends on your budget and whether or not you want to use the hard drive again.
Completely Erase a Hard Drive With a Professional Tool
Without a doubt, this method is by far the easiest and most cost-effective way to permanently delete hard drive data. You can use data wipe software for this. For instance, NFC Data Erasure Software is one of the best options out there.
Furthermore, this utility offers a plethora of outstanding features. Let’s have a look at them.
What the Data Erasure Tool can do-
- Ensures secure and permanent erasure.
- Offers three levels of data wiping: Low, Medium and High.
- Destructs data in real-time and with complete accuracy.
- This software is compatible with more than 40 storage devices.
- Capable of erasing data from multiple files and folders at once.
- Provides advanced filters.
- Allows erasing data from disc folders and logical drives.
- Supports more than 10 wipe methods.
- Supports 14 data erasure standards around the world, including NIST 800-88 Clear & Purge, US Navy – MFM (3 Passes), US Navy – RLL (3 Passes), and US DoD / US Air Force (3 Passes).
Completely Erase a Hard Drive With a Degausser
The second option is using a degausser for data destruction. A degausser disrupts the magnetic domains of the drive. However, a degaussing wand retails for around $500. So, if you are short on budget or an average computer owner/organization then, the degaussing procedure would not be cost-effective for you.
Physically destroy the hard drive to completely erase hard drive data
If you wish to not use the certain hard drive again then, absolutely go for the physical destruction of the drive. Just like written information cannot be extracted from a burned piece of paper, exactly the same way one cannot retract data from a physically destroyed hard drive.
You can physically destroy a hard drive by grinding, shredding, pulverization, melting or incineration.
Moreover, you can destroy the hard drive by nailing or drilling holes in it several times.
If you would rather not do it yourself then, there are various companies that offer the service. They will physically destroy your hard drive and will send you a video for proof.
It is incredibly essential for a user to completely erase a hard drive before selling it. It makes sure that your precious data cannot be extracted by someone else. Thus, to do so, we have provided you with three methods.
All the methods mentioned here come at different prices and have different criteria.
However, purchasing data destruction software is the easiest and the most cost-effective method out of the three.
Moreover, experts suggest that regular users and small organisations should go for the Data Erasure Software as it is the most cost-effective and easy to perform out of all three methods. Although you can choose whichever seems fit for your requirements.