What Windows program to use to erase a hard drive before donating the computer?

January 4, 2013 by

This was a question I posed to my friend Matt. He suggested:

the best is dban

Darick’s Boot and Nuke

You burn dban to a cd and boot the computer with it. This eliminates EVERYTHING from the hard drive, including the operating system.

If you are more comfortable running a program from Windows itself i recommend eraser.

Both are free. I’m always glad to help a friend.


One Response to What Windows program to use to erase a hard drive before donating the computer?

  1. Wayno Post author

    Francis wrote:

    If you use the command line

    cipher /w

    command in a Windows “elevated command prompt”, you can wipe out all “deleted” data files on the hard drive without wiping out the Windows OS. From the 09-07-2011 Meetings Notes of the TCS ( http://aztcs.org/meeting_notes/meeting_notes.shtml ):


    You can use the free Recuva software utility to recover recently-deleted files/folders from a hard drive or a USB flash drive.
    You can also use “Recuva..” to determine whether a wipe with “cipher /w” was successful in removing deleted files from a hard drive.

    You can use the

    cipher /w:C:

    command-line command to remove deleted files permanently so that software such as the free Recuva software utility cannot be used to “undelete” files/folders that you have deleted.

    To wipe deleted files from a drive other than C:, substitute the actual drive letter that you wish to scan:

    For example, to scan the M: drive, type in

    cipher /w:m:

    Please note that above-mentioned “9 Windows Treasures..” article erroneously tells you to type in

    cipher /w:c

    Since “c” is not a valid path designation in Windows.., “cipher /w:c” is seen by “Windows..” as “cipher /w:c:” which then defaults to wiping free space in the C: drive.

    However, when Francis ran “cipher /w:f” in an attempt to wipe a USB flash drive, the result was that his internal C: hard drive was wiped.
    When he ran “ciper /w:f:”, his USB flash drive was wiped.

    Apparently, the colon (:) is necessary if you want to wipe any drive other than C:

    For step-by-step directions on using “cipher /w” and “Recuva” to wipe the data in the free space of a hard drive or a USB flash drive, see

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