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How to Wipe Your Hard Drive

Are you selling or giving away your computer? You may have already deleted personal files and information, or you may have reinstalled or reset Windows, thereby erasing your private data. Either way, you’re not quite done. There’s one important action you should take before you say goodbye to your old friend. You need to wipe your hard drive clean.

Most laptops and many desktops now come with solid-state drives instead of mechanical hard drives. SSDs are faster than their mechanical counterparts but can be trickier to wipe. Simply deleting your files doesn’t do the trick since they can be restored from the Recycle Bin. And even if you empty the Bin, your deleted files can often be recovered with the right undelete utility. 

You can reset Windows 10, 8.1, and 7 to factory conditions using built-in reset features, but if you want a stronger and more secure method of wiping your hard drive, a good hard drive eraser utility will do the job. If you’re wiping a mechanical hard drive, you’ll want a drive eraser utility that meets the DoD 5220.22-M standard. This means the utility will fully wipe your drive by overwriting your data three times with different characters.

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