The three most effective ways to wipe a hard drive include erasing the hard drive with data-destruction software, using a degausser and using file-shredder software. Aside from these methods, a more cost-effective alternative involves physically destroying the hard drive. This is the only method that guarantees the data on a hard drive is absolutely unusable.
Using data-destruction software is the easiest method of erasing data from the hard drive. This type of software is also known as hard-drive eraser software. Data-destruction software is designed to overwrite data on the hard drive using a specific method that makes extracting data nearly impossible.
Using a degausser to erase the hard drive is a method that permanently deletes the data on the hard drive by disrupting the hard drive’s magnetic domains. Disrupting these domains disrupts the way the hard drive physically stores data. Degaussers are available as wands and as individual pieces of equipment; however, both options are expensive.
File-shredder software is an effective way to guarantee that deleted files are actually unavailable. File-shredder software has the ability to destroy individual files on a hard drive on as-needed basis. Most shredder programs also perform a free-space wipe that is useful for wiping all the available free space on the hard drive after other specific files have been deleted.