When it comes to cleansing your hard drive, simply deleting the files or ‘formatting’ the hard drive are not enough and susceptible to data recovery and breach.
Perhaps the easiest method to perform the task is by using the inbuilt windows reset tool.
Press the key on the keyboard to open the Search menu and type “Recovery options” or "Reset This PC" followed by the Return or Enter key which should bring up this screen:
Click on the ‘Get Started’ button, which will take you to the following screen:
Select the second option that says ‘Remove everything’ and get to the following screen:
Select the second option again to remove data from All drives to get to this prompt:
Select the second option once again to Remove files and clean the drive. This will take you to the final part of the process where you must click Reset and wait for it to complete.
Data destruction programs are the most recommended method to completely and securely sanitize your hard drive.
DBAN is a bootable software, the first step to using this method is getting access to a writable CD or a USB stick.
Download DBAN following this.
USB Stick: Download the Universal USB Installer and run it. Open the drop-down menu, select DBAN and follow the instructions to perform the installation.
CD: Download a free CD Burner, or use the inbuilt Windows tool to burn the CD.
Remove all storage devices that you do not want to wipe.
Restart your PC with the CD in the drive or the USB attached if you are using that method.
Press the Boot Menu key immediately, often F12 to bring it up – Click here to see a full list of boot menu keys by manufacturer
Select CD-ROM Drive, or Removable Devices/USB from the Boot Menu to get to this screen:
The easiest method is to type ‘autonuke’ and press Enter. Follow any remaining on-screen instructions and wait for the process to complete.
Another method to wipe your hard drive clean involves using the manufacturers factory reset tool that can be accessed by pressing a specific key during the boot up. Here is a list of manufacturers with the most common function keys to initiate the process:
If your manufacturer is not listed above or the function key doesn’t work please visit your manufacturers website.
Please ensure the tool clearly states that the hard drive will be completely overwritten.
File shredders are used to sanitize individual files and folders without wiping the entire drive. Once downloaded and installed, simply move a folder or file in to the shredder and data will be completely overwritten.
Here is a list of the most common file shredders:
None of the above-mentioned tools, including DBAN ensure SSD sanitizing for several technical reasons. The recommended way to clean your SSDs is by using manufacturer tools:
Visit your SSD manufacturer website if it is not listed above.