How to really erase old files in my laptop?

In summary, the conversation discusses methods for permanently deleting files from a computer before giving it away. The first suggested method is using disk writing software to write, erase, and rewrite every track with random data. This ensures that the data cannot be recovered. The conversation also suggests physically removing the drive and replacing it with a new one to prevent any potential data recovery in case of loss or theft. However, the person in the conversation suggests using a different method of copying a large file multiple times to fill up the disk, but this is not a reliable method as it may still leave traces of the data. The expert reiterates that using a tool designed for multiple write passes of random data is the best way to ensure complete deletion of the data.
  • #36
If you really want to be sure... replace the hard drive in it
 
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  • #37
omigosh said:
If you really want to be sure... replace the hard drive in it
That alone would of course not preserve any content; if it were done along with a correct backup and restore, it would be sufficient but not necessary.
 
  • #38
It turns out, Microsoft finally built in a utility for overwriting and clearing free space. And I've tried it and it seemed to work well. I learned about it from this article:

https://www.howtogeek.com/137108/how-securely-overwrite-free-space-in-windows/

The command is:

cipher /w:C:\

where C is the letter of the drive you want to securely overwrite the free space on.

Use a command prompt window with Administrative privileges.

Don't run anything else while it's going on. Expect it to take hours, possibly run it overnight.
 
  • #39
harborsparrow said:
It turns out, Microsoft finally built in a utility for overwriting and clearing free space. And I've tried it and it seemed to work well. I learned about it from this article:

https://www.howtogeek.com/137108/how-securely-overwrite-free-space-in-windows/

The command is:

cipher /w:C:\

where C is the letter of the drive you want to securely overwrite the free space on.

Use a command prompt window with Administrative privileges.

Don't run anything else while it's going on. Expect it to take hours, possibly run it overnight.
It's not for SSDs.
 
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