photo credit: germaniumAm thinking of donating my old PC some place. Before that happens, I needed to ensure that my data wouldn’t remain on the hard disk. A sledgehammer was tempting, but slightly counterproductive to the act of donating the PC. Contemplated using the shred utility from a DSL / PartedMagic live CD (hell, any Live CD will do – but these are the lightest ones). In the end I used Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Solely devoted to THIS task. Oh, it uses Linux too. The ISO file is 2 MB in size, so absolutely ANY machine should support booting this. Once it starts, the interactive mode allows you to choose the number of passes you want while overwriting data, different levels of overwriting data et al. You don’t need to know a even a shred of Linux to run this – it’s a stripped-down, DOS application-type, interactive software. By default it’s kept at US DoD Short level (overwriting the data on your disk in 3 passes). Enter your choice, sit back, and relax as it toasts your hard disk. Get a large mug of coffee; it’ll take a loooong time – the estimated time it showed was incorrect for my system. You can eject the CD / DVD as soon as the overwrite process starts as the software is loaded onto RAM. DBAN’s a useful little thing. Bit less fun than the sledgehammer though, to choose the ‘Royal Canadian Mounted Police data destruction routine’.
That reminds me, we thought of holding a PC bashing event at Code Wars 2007. Give ’em a sledgehammer and see which club’s got the most muscle – literally. I was quite shocked to find that even our HoD Bani ma’am thought it was a good idea; maybe she thought it would be a nice excuse to ask for an upgrade of the school Internet lab. Eventually we came back to our senses and didn’t hold it for safety reasons.