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Hi bought a new computer and giving the old one away. Does anyone know any free downloads to erase hard drive of bank details and anything else what was once on as we bought it second hand.
A great deal depends on what detailed understanding you have of your computer.
If you are selling it without Windows or any OS, one of several suitable free programs is Kill Disk.( MAT ALAN's second link)
This will really scrub all details from ordinary mortal's gaze, though not perhaps MI5 or CIA!
If you have to leave the OS on the computer then you will just have to rely on deletion, followed by emptying the recycle bin.
Simple deletion provided you empty the recycle bin and use a program like CCleaner to clear out the odds like cookies and temporary internet files will do the trick for most people
BCWipe click here will perform "military safe" deletions of files from your PC.
I have heard it said that given enough funding, "echoes" of data long ago deleted, can be found on a hard disk, but the technology and time involved is beyound the funding capabilities for us mere mortals.
Strictly speaking - only a low-level format of the drive will render any data irretrievable, as it creates a new magnetic "structure" on the disk surface. Any other eraser just re-writes the data within the existing magnetic image.
Assuming you don't have plans to blow up some important building, plots to assasinate major political leaders, or instructions how to build concealable bombs on your hard drive, just erase "sensitive" data files (use BCWipe (above) or similar), use CCleaner (configure for secure mode) to eradicate other sensitive data and files.
The only thing NOT covered in that strategy, is that blocks of data from files deleted in the standard manner will still be intact in the unused areas of the hard disk. Google for "wipe free space" and download a tool to clean this up, and you should be "good to go"
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