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Removing Data From Your Hard Drive

Removing Data From Your Hard Drive
Disk Wiping / Formatting Services


Removing data from a hard drive, permanently, is something that sounds an awful lot simpler than it proves to be in reality. As we all know deleting a file does not remove the file or its content from the hard drive permanently, data recovery companies can normally aid in the recovery of such files, no doubt other less scrupulous individuals are equally capable of such recovery feats. So what lengths do we need to go to in order to ensure that our data is securely removed?

The answer, in short, is that there is no easy method of permanently removing data from a storage media. This does not make it impossible, but does mean that you will normally have to obtain expensive software to help in the task.

Data can only be considered completely erased when it has been overwritten several times, each time using a different method. The level of overwriting usually considered to guarantee that data has been successfully erased is a seven pass overwriting method using software or manual processes that adhere to the DoD 5220.22-M standard for data erasure.

There is software available that can help in the task but many people prefer to leave data elimination to professional services as they will at least understand the exact processes that need to be followed to ensure complete elimination of any data and the chance of it falling into the wrong hands.


There are also more permanent methods of data destruction, few data recovery companies can retrieve data from a hard drive where the disk’s platters have been physically destroyed. If you wish to attempt this yourself, it is important to note that the platters within the device should be completely destroyed, this means bending, scratching, smashing, shattering or whatever else seems reasonable to completely annihilate the hard disk platter.

Always remember deleting a file does not remove your data beyond the point of recovery. Formatting a hard disk, even full formats/low level formats do not guarantee complete data erasure. Re-installing an operating system does not get rid of your data either. The only reliable method is the multi-pass method.

If your data is business critical or extremely sensitive, always ensure that you can have the data certifiably removed from the storage media, whether that media be Flash Memory device, a hard disk drive, a RAID Array, Floppy Disk or CD / DVD Optical Media often only a professional can help you.