3 Ways to Effectively Perform a Complete Hard Drive Wipe

If you’re looking for effective ways to perform a complete hard drive wipe, it might not be as easy as you think. Simply formatting a hard drive doesn’t actually erase the data on it. All it does is erase the location information associated with the data. It appears lost to the system, but it’s still there. Unless you perform a hard drive wipe, your date will be recoverable using special hardware and software.

This can pose a security risk if your hard drive contains sensitive data. If you’re planning on recycling your hard drive (which is a responsible thing to do) you will need to perform a hard drive wipe. Even if you are disposing of your hard drive, it’s vital you erase the data on it completely before discarding it.

You may not think there’s anything on there that could cause problems, but remember, your hard drive contains password and account information, as well as personal details, all of which could be used in numerous unpleasant ways, such as identity theft and credit fraud. If you run a business, you likely have such data about your clients as well as yourself, making it even more important you perform a full hard drive wipe.

Here are three completely effective and reliable methods for performing a hard drive wipe. Exactly which is best for you will depend on your plans for the future and budget.

1. Use data destruction software to wipe your hard drive

Undoubtedly the easiest method is to use data destruction software to wipe your hard drive. This is both an economic and sustainable solution. Software such as Blancco is designed to overwrite your hard drive multiple times, and in very specific ways, making the recovery of data almost impossible. It’s important though that you use the correct sanitisation software that’s properly accredited or there is a significant risk that your data can be recovered.

If you ever plan on using the hard drive again or intend to allow someone else to use it, this is the method you must use, we usually recommend this method as it’s sustainable and allows you to recover the most value from your assets through remarketing. The other two will effectively wipe your hard drive, but they also render it unusable.

2. Erase your hard drive using a degausser

An effective method of permanent data erasure is using a degausser. This will disrupt your drive’s magnetic domains – the element that allows the drive to store data.

The degaussing process will also erase your hard drive’s firmware. This renders the drive totally useless.

3. Destroy your hard drive physically

The ultimate form of data destruction is destroying the hard drive itself, physically. Once a hard drive has been physically destroyed there is no way of recovering the data on it. Imagine trying to read the writing on a piece of paper after it had been incinerated. There are several ways to physically destroy a hard drive, including grinding, disintegration, incineration, pulverisation, shredding and melting – though the most common are crushing and shredding.

Do you need to effectively wipe your hard drive(s) of all data? We offer secure data sanitisation and the physical destruction of hard drives to ensure complete erasure of data. Get in touch, we’re happy to help.