How to clear your computer of everything
Here a few ways to completely clear your hard drive of sensitive informationDid you just get a new computer? Well, sorry to break it to you, but the moment you swiped your credit card, it was already obsolete. The new model was being rolled out as you were leaving with your new purchase. So, you're a good person, and a few months (years) down the line, your son or daughter asks for a new, top of the line computer.
What to do with the old one? Donate it, or try to sell it.
But computers can be a tricky thing sometimes. If you're looking to completely clear your hard drive of personal information, financial records, internet sites viewed, private emails, tax information, and more, simply dragging files over to the PC recycle bin won't exactly get the job done. While unreadable by the operating system, anyone using a data recovery tool can simply undelete these files and thus have access to them.
Fortunately, there are a variety of drive erasing tools that will help to completely remove everything on your computer.
The Potential Tools for Erasing a File (or Folder) From Your Hard Drive
If you're interested in deleting single files or folders on your PC, Eraser can help. You can selectively remove sensitive data without completely blanking your hard drive. Eraser is a free program that will delete anything from a single file to an entire folder on your HD.
Now, if you're a Macintosh user, according to Digital Trends, you already have erasure tools built in to your OS system. Click and drag an item into the Mac trash, choose Finder, and then click on "Secure Empty Trash." For Mac users, this will effectively delete that file completely from your system.
How to Clear your Computer of Everything
You're a PC user who wants to clear your HD of more than just one file? Multiple programs are available to assist you in this process.
WipeDrive, currently going for $19.95, can effectively clean your PC of all sensitive data. The website states that it has been used on over 20,000 hard drives and is expressly approved by the Department of Defense, along with many other governmental agencies. Thus, it seems like it's hard to go wrong with WipeDrive.
For free programs that offer similar services, try KillDisk or DBAN. Both programs will destroy all data on your system, leaving the hard drive as clean as the day you got it. Both programs are very reliable and are free to boot.
A Slightly More Physical Approach Towards How to Clear your Computer of Everything
Depending upon how many viruses you got during your time, or how many crashes halted progress on that term paper you were writing, you may have a bit of pent up anger toward your computer. Taking a sledgehammer to it, or dropping it in an industrial shredder, will accomplish the same thing as the previously mentioned programs. Of course, this is quite dangerous (you with a sledgehammer) so this is mostly said tongue in cheek.
There are industrial institutions that will shred your hard drive for you (much safer for you), so it's an option if you want to truly annihilate your machine.
Digital Trends: Completely Erase Your Hard Drive
PC World: How to Completely Erase a Hard Drive