An easy way to permanently erase files on your hard drive

First published on January 21, 2007

When selling / giving away / parting with your computer or hard drive, you might have sensitive data that you don’t want people to be able to access. This could take the form of documents with trade secrets, passwords, and whatnot.

You could “delete” the files, but this just deletes the record of the file — the data still sits on the hard drive. Formatting your hard drive is a much better solution, although 1) this wipes out the operating system and all installed applications (although I guess you could defragment, then partition your drive first, in order to keep the OS) and 2) I’ve read that even in this case, only the address tables are wiped — the data is… still there.

Well, when we say that the data is on the hard drive, it is on the hard drive until it is overwritten. So, why not… fill your hard drive with useless crap (overwriting all your deleted-but-still-there sensitive data), then delete the useless crap. Thus if anybody recovers the data, they are recovering crap. If you have a DVD movie, just make several copies of it on your computer until your hard drive is full. Then delete the movie files.

Or, you could use this program that I found for Windows that generates empty files. It’s called superleech ratio buster, but make sure you are careful in using it, as its interface is a bit clunky. Download superleech ratio buster.

Superleech ratio buster

If you have 10gb to fill, enter something like “10 1″ for the ratio, then “1024 mb” for the download file. If you use those settings and accidentally enter “100 1″ for the ratio, the program will start generating a 100gb file. Generate some small files first (use a ratio of “1 1″ and “1 mb” download file size) so that you know what you’re doing…


2 Responses to “An easy way to permanently erase files on your hard drive”

  1. Deena says:

    That’s scary making lets say a 400gb file when you wanted a 40gb file.. i can imagine myself doing that and crashing my computer.

  2. billy jack says:

    Hi guys, Ive been using the superleech ratiobuster for some time. it will stop before itself before runs over. it works like a charm. my key to clearing out files= run ccleaner on 35 guttman. run recuva on deep scan and then secure delete whatever it finds, then run heidi eraser for free space with 35 guttman, defrag it, now run the leech ratio buster to fill it up . erase and defrag again- repeat the fill if you want . these defeats all known methods of recovery. even MFT. hehe

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