How To Destroy Data

I have been testing some of the best ways of destroying data. Data destruction is an area of computing that is little discussed, but this is rather ironic, as computing is all about data. And data destruction is a part of everyday computing life.

Many people are lazy about their data - they very rarely go through the contents of their hard drive and clear out all the data and applications that they no longer require. Instead this data just sits there on their hard drive and is forgotten about. Eventually their machines are sold on or used for scrap. Whatever happens to the hard drive is usually bad for the data. Computer hard drives are rarely sanitised before released and there are many stories in the press about how private data has turned up on second hand hard drives, read a cautionary tale on the BBC web site here

It's therefore imperative that personal data is removed from hard drives before they are put up for sale on eBay or similar.

How Easy Is It To Wipe Data ?
Data wiping is fairly easy but needs to be completed properly - it's fairly easy to miss data, for example, whole partitions can be hidden and missed when the time comes to remove the data from the hard drive. Initially, you might like to ask yourself - is it the data on the hard drive you want to destroy or is it the data itself ??

If it's the hard drive you want to destroy, the best way of doing it is by hitting it hard with a hammer - this article, describes several methods to destroy hard drives, some are more successful than others and it makes for an interesting read.

Removing the data can be done with a program that overwrites the data on the hard drive.

Finding The Right Program
To ensure you remove ALL the data from the hard drive you need a program that allows you to specify LBA values. LBA is short for Logical Block Address and addresses each part of the hard drive from start to finish. The start LBA is always 0, and the end LBA is always the total number of LBA's on the hard drive. Enter these two values and the whole hard disk will be overwritten thus removing your data from the hard drive. You are then clear to sell your hard drive second hand or pass it to a friend or relative etc.

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Hard Disk Drive
This is a hard disk drive. These are the things that store all the data from your computers, tablets and phones. There are billions of them in the world, but most people know absolutely nothing about them.