Switzerland, (PressExposure) August 24, 2008 -- Hermetic Systems .When it's time to upgrade to a new computer there is always the problem of what to do with the old one. It's rather a waste just to throw it out. Moreover, you may have used it for five years or more, and the hard disk probably contains information that you have forgotten was there, or more likely, information that accumulated over the years is still in sectors of the hard disk which are not now parts of any files, and so can't be deleted by the usual file deletion method.
A computer running Windows 98 with a 5 GB hard disk is hardly state-of-the-art but there are plenty of people who can't afford to buy a new PC and would be pleased to have an older one as long as it still works OK. Charitable organizations need PCs also. But, as noted above, there is the problem of all that data still residing on the hard disk. Of course, you could simply remove the hard disk and apply a hammer to it, but that makes the PC unusable unless a new hard disk is obtained, which constitutes both a financial and a technical problem for your favorite charitable organization.
You could simply do a low-level format of the hard disk. But there are two problems with this. Firstly a low-level format simply overwrites all sectors of the hard disk, and this is not a secure form of deletion (there are special programs which can recover data from sectors which have been overwritten just once). Secondly, a PC with a blank hard disk is not immediately usable by your favorite charitable organization, since they have to install some operating system before they can do anything with it. Moreover, there may be lots of useful software on the hard disk (especially word processing and spreadsheet programs) and if you are going to give the PC to someone to use then you probably don't want to delete this sort of software.
So what's needed is a program which will securely delete all files, and also data in normally inaccessible sectors of the hard disk, yet leave intact the software (and maybe some data files) that you don't wish to delete. Hermetic Systems has a program to do just that, called "Data Destroyer Disk Wipe." Their program "Data Destroyer" is for secure deletion of files and folders, and allows customization of the number of times data sectors are overwritten (and what they are overwritten with); it also provides an estimate of the time required. "Data Destroyer Disk Wipe" is a separate program which is the disk wipe part of "Data Destroyer", for those people who don't need the full capabilities of the latter program.
"Data Destroyer Disk Wipe" is easy to use. You first select the level of security (number of overwrites) that you want, then you specify which of the files in the root folder, and which subfolders, should not be wiped. This allows you to keep all the Windows system files and all the software which is contained in the Program Files subfolder. You can get an estimate of the time required for the disk wipe, and adjust the number of overwrites according to the time available. After the program has wiped the disk you then have a PC with all data securely removed except for the files needed for the operation of the PC and other software, and files which you have chosen to preserve. You can then donate the PC to your favorite charitable organization with no concern that any sensitive data will be discovered.
A user license for "Data Destroyer" currently sells for US$34.99 (or 23.49 Euro) and one for "Data Destroyer Disk Wipe" for US$17.99 (or 11.99 Euro). The product description pages and the user manuals for both programs are on the Hermetic Systems website at http://www.hermetic.ch/dd/dd.htm and http://www.hermetic.ch/dddw/dddw.htm, and trial or demo versions are freely downloadable. There are also about twenty other items of software that are available on the Hermetic Systems website at http://www.hermetic.ch. Any information not presented in the online user manuals may be obtained by writing to Hermetic Systems at firstname.lastname@example.org.