When you delete a file from your hard disk, its contents are not actually erased – just the name is removed from the file table and the space is made available for other operations. Any advanced user using proper tools can recover those files. Such file recovery tools are available freely over the internet. So if you are throwing or giving away your hard disk, make sure you completely erase all the data on it or it can be recovered to reveal your personal or financial information. The freeware Disk Wipe tool can be used to completely wipe your hard disk leaving nothing behind.
Disk Wipe is freeware portable Windows application for permanent hard disk data destruction. With Disk Wipe you can erase all disk data and prevent recovery of those data. Formatting a hard drive with regular method leaves an open possibility to recover the data back. Many companies and users who just dumped their old hard drives in rubbish had found this the hard way. Disk Wipe solves this problem efficiently, using powerful algorithms which fill the volume with random rubbish binary data multiple times reducing the possibility of recovering information from that drive.
You can download Disk Wipe from its website. Disk Wipe is distributed under the GNU license and is free for personal or commecial use. The download is available for Windows XP, Vista and 7. The download file is around one megabytes. The download is a portable executable file so you can run it without the need of installing. The main window shows a list of available disk partitions on your system.
You can select any one of the partitions that you want to erase. After you have selected a partition, click on the Wipe Disk icon in the toolbar. It would ask you to choose a file system type – NTFS, FAT or FAT32. You can also choose to Quick Format the selected disk. Be careful, as some of the memory cards stop working if you format them with NTFS file system. Click Next to continue.
On the next screen, you can choose from seven different types of erasing algorithms. You can choose from one pass zeros, one pass random, Russian GOST, British HMG, US DoD 5-pass, US DoD 7-pass and Peter Guttman. All these algorithms are very strong and it is highly impossible to recover data erased by any of them. The algorithms shown on the top take relatively smaller amount of time than the ones on the bottom. Click Next to continue.
To prevent any accidental damage of your hard disk, you are asked to type in ERASE ALL in the textbox before it starts to erase the selected partition. This is a safety measure so that you do not end up selecting wrong partition and lose all your data. So think multiple times before you proceed, check that you have selected the right partition and click Finish to go ahead and erase the data.
Disk Wipe is free utility for Windows operating system. It helps users secure permanent removal of data from their hard drives or other memory storage devices like USB memory sticks, SD memory cards or any other device with memory that can serve as a storage (mp3 players, cameras, mobile phones etc.) You can download it from http://www.diskwipe.org/.