We are refurbishing laptops for disadvantaged children whose learning is impacted by the lack of a computer at home. If you can donate an unused, undamaged laptop that is less than 10 years old, please email us at – firstname.lastname@example.org
We use DBAN to securely erase any hard drives, ensuring against any possibility of Identity Theft if they are donated to certain countries where this sort of thing is common, or unhappily find their way eventually over to such a place. DBAN is a data eradication program that supports recognized government and industry standards. DBAN is entirely free and a perfectly acceptable way to securely delete data from a consumer hard drive.
It performs multiple overwrites if required, although a single-pass overwrite is widely considered to be sufficient for modern hard disk drives. It also performs a low level format over all areas of the disk, including the part where a ‘normal’ format leaves data. Usually, when a hard drive is formatted inside an operating system, like Windows or MAC OS-X, the data is simply marked to be deleted from the surface level. In other words, the operating system will not be able to see that data, but it is still there. This data will only be removed when new data overwrites it.
There are also many programs that will recover most data from a ‘normally’ formatted hard drive, for example EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard – https://www.easeus.com/ad/data-recovery-wizard-uk.html –
There are other freely available programs that will perform a low level format on a hard drive – https://toolbox.iskysoft.com/hard-drive-recovery/hdd-low-level-format-tool.html–
A bit more reading :
And get your own Boot Disk from DBAN – Download Darik’s Boot and Nuke
NB If the hard disk can be removed, and swapped for a brand new SSD, this quite lengthy process need not be used, and the existing hard drive can simply be physically destroyed by drilling through the platters and bending through about 45 degrees. This is an adequate method in all realistic scenarios, see below.
Further reading :
There are also professional services that charge a fee for guaranteed data destruction, eg – Shred-it UK – https://www.shredit.co.uk/en-gb/secure-shredding-services/hard-drive-destruction – This company’s ultimate level of data wiping literally shreds your entire hard drive into small pieces using industrial grade destruction equipment. The hard drive shredding process completely destroys the drive platters, mechanisms, and the electronic components, rendering the data unrecoverable.
There are other ways of destroying hard disks just as effectively, where illicitly recovering personal data is put beyond the reach of a home project and available only to someone with unlimited resources.