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Erasing data before selling a computer

A remote family member has a computer that is going in for service, but she wants to make sure the hard drive is securely wiped.

I am looking for a Live CD that has a simple menu option to do a full and secure system wipe.

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marked as duplicate by nhinkle Apr 21 '11 at 5:19

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

DBAN (Darik's Boot 'n Nuke) is without a doubt the best: http://www.dban.org/ Just press enter at the boot prompt to "autonuke".

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DBAN is undoubtedly the gold standard in drive wiping, although might be overkill for this situation. DBAN can take hours to run, and a regular format is enough to prevent data from being recovered without going to great effort. Certainly what I would recommend though. –  nhinkle Apr 21 '11 at 5:18
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@nhinkle DBAN is not even close to a gold standard... use MHDD to run the built in command to securely erase the drive. To clarify DBAN does not erase the entire drive and it repeatedly overwrites the drive unnecessarily. Drives today are so dense it is pretty much impossible to recover the information that is 0'd out. –  Arctor Apr 21 '11 at 5:44
    
@jb48394 - I'd second the vote for MHDD. DBAN misses too much! –  Rory Alsop Apr 21 '11 at 9:38
    
@jb48394 I wasn't aware of MHDD, in fact, I was frustrated by the lack of good utilities to send the ATA security commands. Thanks for the tip. –  jcrawfordor Apr 22 '11 at 7:14
    
also, @nhinkle, I'm wary of telling people to format because most format utilities only perform "quick formats", only rewriting the file table. this leaves the old data trivially recovered via consumer tools like r-studio (not to mention law-enforcement oriented packages like encase). –  jcrawfordor Apr 22 '11 at 7:17
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