Selling your hard drive or disposing of your PC?

Selling your device?

There all comes a time when we want to upgrade our PC or laptop, or maybe just upgrade the storage device inside them and we may want to dispose of the old hard drive or sell it on.

What about my data that was on it?

Naturally, you are likely to migrate your data to your new machine or storage device and are wondering about what would happen to the data that is still on your old device and don’t want anyone getting their hands on it whether the hard drive is being disposed of or sold on.

Can I just reformat it or put my device back to factory settings before it goes?

Although it makes sense to either clear the data before the drive is disposed of or sold on with the idea that it is not there for the next person to access, a very common mistake is that reformatting the drive or resetting a machine back to factory settings is ample – unfortunately it is not.

When a drive is reformatted or a device put back to factory settings and although it appears to have gone, that data is very often still there for a good while after but looks like it isn’t because it is out of view of the file system.

A computer savvy user with some cheap or even free recovery software can very often retrieve that data.

How do I make sure my data has totally gone?

The main way of doing so it so do a Secure Erase of the drive which totally sanitizes any data on it. This is done by using specialist software to overwrite every space on the drive with 0’s and 1’s a number of times (each time is known as a pass).

This therefore makes the data unretrievable by even the highest end recovery software. We always recommend at least 3 full passes, which is what we do ourselves when secure erasing drives.

What if I want to be even more sure?

The more passes you make, the more secure the data is going to be erased and less likely to recover. However, if you were planning to dispose of the drive and want to be even more sure it won’t be retireve then we would recommend physically damaging the drive too.

If you do decide to physically damage your drive to make it unreadable, we would still recommend running several passes of a secure erase first!

Please visit our Hard Drive Wiping page for information on our secure erasing services.