How to make sure all data is erased on a computer hard drive

Updated: 12/20/2017 by Computer Hope
Computer hard drive

If your concerned with data being read or recovered from your hard drive after it is sold or given away, we recommend trying the following utilities. These utilities will remove all your existing data and make it impossible to be recovered or read. After your data is erased or overwritten, you can then reinstall Windows or another operating system on the computer.

Warning

If you have an OEM computer (e.g., Acer, Dell, Hewlett Packard, etc.), the hard drive may have a hidden system recovery partition. Using the utilities below may erase this partition, making it impossible to restore your computer without a disc.

Product Web Page Info
DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) https://dban.org/ Free
Blancco https://www.blancco.com/ Free and commercial version
Disk Wiper https://www.paragon-software.com/home/dw-professional/ Cost
Eraser http://www.tolvanen.com/eraser/ Free to all
ArcticSoft FileAssurity http://www.articsoftpgp.com/pgp_encryption_software.htm Cost
Harddisk Eraser http://www.linux-kurser.dk/secure_harddisk_eraser.html Free to all
No Trace http://www.comtechnologies.com/notracemain.html Cost
Permanent Erasure http://www.winhex.com/security/index-m.html Free to all
SDelete https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/sdelete Free to all

Additional information