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Planning on getting rid of an old computer? Formatting a drive is not enough to clear the information off those old drives.

If this is all you do, there are a multitude of utilities available that allow people to recover information on formatted hard drives and before you know it, those pictures no one was supposed to see will be circulating all through the Net.

To ensure that the data is cleaned off the drive, it is recommended that you use a utility to wipe your hard drive.

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Mac OS X has a built in function in the Disk Utility program that is built into the operating system. Users have the ability to Zero out deleted files, do a “7-Pass Erase” of deleted files, or to do a “35-Pass Erase” of deleted files. Each of these taking proportionally longer to perform.

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For Windows computers, there are a variety of free utilities on the web that can help with this. Below are links to a few of these:

This particual link has a variety of Utlitlities, including some of the ones listed below, all in a Bootable CD format:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Darik's Boot and Nuke: http://dban.sourceforge.net/
Active Kill Disk: http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm
PC Inspector: http://www.pcinspector.de/emaxx/uk/welcome.htm
Eraser: http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/

These all provide a variety of different options for erasing your hard drive, similar to the Macintosh system.

Here's how to use the Windows apps:

1- Create the boot disk via the provided setup file and use it to boot your computer
2- Select the disk to wipe
3- Go get a coffee, this could take a while…..

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Depending on the sensitivity of the data on your computer, you can choose different levels of wiping.

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