Free Download of the Week:
Are you giving away your old PC, or just putting it out on the curb? As I mentioned yesterday, when you delete something in windows—it just marks it to be written over . Formatting a hard drive does not permanently erase stored data, it just reconstructs the allocation table and checks the blocks on the disk. With the right software, old files can be recovered.
As promised, here are two free programs that will totally erase data from your hard drive.
First is Darik’s Boot and Nuke  which is an application that you can install on a bootable floppy or CD Rom. Boot and Nuke uses several methods to wipe the data on your drive to an unrecoverable state.
The second title is Eraser 5.7  Though this software is free as well, a $15.00 donation is encouraged. This software does a great job of sanitizing your hard drive by removing all magnetic and solid state memory. It does this by using several different techniques including “pseudorandom data overwrite” and techniques defined by the Department of Defense.
Once one of these procedures is performed the drive is ready to be given away or thrown out without fear of privacy invasion, fraud, or worse. Would you just throw away an old wallet with everything still in it? Of course not. So why would you give or give your PC away with making sure it wasn’t safe? I’ve seen this many times repairing someone’s PC that they were giving to their folks or have gotten from friends and these people made vary little effort to protect themselves and with little effort I probably could have taken them to the cleaners if I wasn’t a law biding morally strong person
Bottom line: protect yourself because just when you think this could never happen to you… it could.
~ Chad Stelnicki