Over the years and computers, many of us tend to store several old hard drives in a drawer or closet. Too old and with small capacity, but too full of “to know what” data to throw happily or conform only to format them.
After all, simply formatting a hard drive isn’t the most definitive way to remove the data it contains. That’s why today we bring you a small collection of several free tools with which to safely remove all data from your hard drive. We have everything, both for HDD classic hard drives and solid state SSD.
Darik’s Boot And Nuke
Darik’s Boot And Nuke, also known as DBAN, is an open source program that has been considered for years the best data destruction software available. It is an open source project and totally free, which you can download in ISO format to dump it on a CD or DVD from any operating system and run it when you start the computer.
Therefore, the only thing that must be done is to rip it and execute it when starting the PC in which the hard disk that we want to erase is connected. The interface is clear and basic, although its only point is that the amount of functions makes its instructions and documentation a bit intimidating to beginners.
CBL Data Shredder
If you are looking for an alternative with a slightly more modern interface but that retains the ability to work directly from a CD or USB when starting the system, CBL Data Shredder is a freeware application that may interest you. In addition to its ISO version, it also has an executable for Windows.
If you want to completely remove the data from the hard drive that is using your operating system you will have no choice but to use a USB and load the program when you start the system. But its version for Windows is perfectly capable if all you want is to finish with all the data of any other internal or external unit.
The CCleaner application is well known among those seeking to free space by removing installed applications or browser data. But although a little less known, it also has an option that will allow you to safely erase data from an HDD hard drive or a removable drive such as a USB.
What you have to do is execute it, click on Tools and choose the option of Drive Wiper. It will allow you to make complex erasures of up to 35 passes. This means that the data will be overwritten with random binary code before each of the 35 formats to minimize the possibility of recovering the original content of the disk.
Although in this case, it is an exclusive program for Microsoft operating systems, Eraser is another interesting option for all users of Windows XP and up. It has some pretty eye-catching features, and it is a free software tool published under the GNU General Public License 3.0 license.
The application stands out above all for including an option to program the schedules in which we want to perform the total deletions, being able to do it daily at a specific time, weekly or monthly. Otherwise, like almost all, delete files, folders, and data from other previously deleted programs. But of course, you will not be able to erase the hard drive on which Windows is installed.
With the tools that allow creating DVDs and USBs executable from the BIOS is usually enough to cover any need regardless of your operating system, but KillDisk at least is one of the few that also offers a native application for GNU / Linux distributions in format. tar.gz.
As for its functions, it allows you to erase several discs at once, supports maximum sizes of 4 TB, forces you to confirm the deletion to avoid errors and has the option to eliminate only free space. It also allows you to create a removable drive executable from the BIOS.
HDDErase is another alternative to the previous options. Again thanks to its ease of use. it can only be used when booting from an external drive, but at least it has a simplified interface that makes it a little easier to use.
Its only downside, as is evident, is that it cannot be executed from the operating systems themselves. But in return it allows you to remove it EVERYTHING from any hard drive, which allows to completely eliminate all traces of the operating system, and that has a minimum size so you can rip it on almost any unit.
Official Manufacturer Software
And finally, the manufacturers of hard drives also offer interesting alternatives, specially designed programs to eliminate data from their models. We can find here with alternatives such as Intel Solid State Toolbox, Corsair SSD Toolbox, SanDisk SSD Toolbox, Samsung Magician Software or OCZ Toolbox.