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The people who make CCleaner also make a free program called Recuva, which shows files which have been put in the trash but have not been overwritten so can be recovered. Recuva also has the option to securely overwrite any found files.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recuva[I've assumed you’re using a Windows OS]
.It's windows XP...thing is....no connection to the internet on it....so I can't download anything to it.
... I will burn a cd and hope the cd player still works !...The Dell has had it's full measure. Unfortunately I have an older version of CCleaner so no 'drive wiper'
... you can use the install media to reinstall XP as it was when you bought it.
Fact is, it's such an ancient laptop that I was going to donate it to my kids school
London-based Computer Recycling SpecialistsWe use data-wiping software on disks that are re-used and reload a new Operating System, rendering recovery of previous data impossible.
The remains of my last couple of harddrives - theyre prettier than cd, but don't stop the heat[attachment=14096]
If it is old and slow, then the best will be to download a copy of Ubuntu, Debian or some other Linux disro and install it on the computer. You can use the installer to wipe the drive as it installs ( not a secure wipe but will still make it difficult to recover data later) and then use it to surf the web. If you use Puppy linux you can remove the hard drive and boot and run off a USB stick, or install it to the drive and have a very fast laptop again, with a large amount of storage again.
Be absolutely sure...http://www.diytools.co.uk/diy/Main/sp-53-5230-91345-sealey-cut-off-machine-355mm-230v-portable.asp
A cheap angle grinder would do but you must wear googles. I learnt the hard way.
Whatever tickles your fancy I guess.Tell me RD, what were you looking for when you found that?
I've read tests where they stated that you could recover data over written seven times. The military have one way to treat old HD as I know and that is Neils hammer. That said you can use electromagnets to wipe data, but they have to be strong. Take a look here but they seem to fall back on a hammer too. "A force field of 10.000 Gauss or one Tesla is necessary to erase the drive." But if you're looking for the opposite, and you should, it's all to easy to have your HD lose info by playing with different OS, and other crashes, then I would recommend 'Ontrack "easyrecovery profesional 6.21" it works as good as anything outside the professional data recovery business you ever will find. I've found it very useful at occasions. Maybe there are something better out there but I doubt it, I looked extensively before choosing that one.Simply erasing all the data on your hard drive and formatting it is not enough security. using the delete key on your keyboard in Windows only removes the shortcuts to the files. Deleted files will still reside on the hard drive making them very easy to recover. Formatting your hard drive better than simply erasing the files. Formatting a disk does not erase the data on the disk, only the address tables. If you have decided a disk format is a good choice, do a full format rather than a quick format. Then you can use disk wiping which process will overwrite your entire hard drive with new data, several times. A simple way of doing it manually is to use a Linux OS then reformat your Hard drive into some different layouts, like DOS then NT then some Linux and use 'full/slow format' all three times, with error checking, which will force the software to write a 'one' to all 'bits' on your Hard drive, to then lift it up again to see if it can read it. Do it with three different OS tables and it should be quite difficult to recover. And it's as fast as anything else on the market I guess.Here is some wiping software if you just want to wipe certain files. Wiping I would expect Darik's Boot and Nuke and Sysinternals to be good at cleaning out your HD, but, the best is your hammer/shredder
If you want to erase the data from a disk platter without actually destroying it, I'd suggest sticking it in the oven on high for half an hour, then, while it is still hot, subject it to a few hundred g's acceleration by whacking it with a mallet a few times.
A magnet will lose its magnetism if heated above the Curie temperature. The curie temperature of Iron is 770 o C
You might just yank your hard drive and keep it as a backup.I have a degausser... Have to take it on faith that it actually wiped the hdds... But, the drives were unreadable, and likely destroyed so they couldn't be easily reformatted. Then a sledge does the rest Any wipedisk program has to boot from floppy/CD.Actually... I think the one I used to use was called "WipeDisk". Put it in "secure mode", and it would chug for about a day or so. I'm not positive of the exact version I used to have, but it seemed to be effective.
BTW, rather than wreck your old drives, it's a lot more fun to take them apart. The engineering and manufacturing processes that go into HDs are truly amazing.I like to recover the magnets from the voicecoil mechanism (that's the bit that makes the heads move from track to track). Watch you fingers though. These are extremely powerful magnets. You may think they are welded to the assembly, but it's only magnetic attraction that is holding them in place.
Fact is, it's such an ancient laptop that I was going to donate it to my kids school but it runs so slowly that there really is no use for it ...so...my final idea was to scrap it.....so...perhaps using the DBAN is best for me....I truly can not see anybody getting any use from it........