How do you securely erase an old computer,
so that it’s safe to get rid of? In this video I’ll show you how to make
a USB stick that lets you wipe your old hard drive, making it practically impossible for
anyone to recover your private data from it. We’re going to look at Windows 7 and older
computers, and we’re going to do this using only free software. Let’s find out how. This is Dave’s Tech Rescue, where I solve
your problems with computers, Internet and technology.
If you have a question you’d like to ask me, leave it in the comments below and I’ll
do my best to answer it. And remember to subscribe so you don’t miss
my next video, where I might be answering your question. Today’s question: I have an old computer that I want to dispose
of, but my data is still on the hard drive. How can I securely wipe the computer? Well this is a question I get asked all the
time, because these days we’re all well aware of what can happen if our personal data
falls into the wrong hands. When you buy a new computer now with Windows
10, it comes with all the tools you’ll need later on to securely erase your data. But
if you have an older computer, running Windows 7 or something older, you’re going to need
to find a program to wipe your data. I’m going to show you how to prepare a memory
stick with a program called DBAN, which stands for Darik’s Boot and Nuke. This program
will overwrite all the data on your hard drive with a random stream of data, making it virtually
impossible for anyone to recover anything from the drive. So we’ll be downloading DBAN, and we’ll
also be downloading a tool called Rufus which helps us prepare the USB drive. Both of these
tools are available for free from the Internet. WHAT YOU’LL NEED You’re going to need a memory stick, an
Internet connection and a working computer – in this video I’m going to prepare my
memory stick using my Windows computer. You don’t need a very large memory stick
– it’s only going to take up about 100 megabytes, which is tiny. HOW TO PREPARE YOUR USB DRIVE To start with, plug in your memory stick. Open your web browser and go to Click Download Dban and wait for it to download.
I just need to click Save – it doesn’t take long. Now you need to go to a different website
– . Rufus is the tool that’s going to take DBAN, put it on to your memory stick,
and make sure the memory stick is bootable. Bootable means that when you turn on the computer,
the memory stick has the power to take control of what happens. So on the Rufus website, look for the Download
section and click on the first link to download Rufus. This time I’m going to click Run. Rufus is also a really quick download, and
once it’s downloaded, it will run. This is Rufus. Don’t worry about all these
settings, we’ll leave most of them alone. You just need to look for Device, and click
on the drop-down menu. You should see your USB stick here, so click on it. Make sure
this is definitely the right USB drive, because this is going to get wiped when we go ahead
shortly. Now look for Boot Selection, And choose Disk
or ISO image. Click the SELECT button, and now you need to find the DBAN file you downloaded.
I know mine is going to be in my Downloads folder. Find the DBAN file, and click Open. Now you can leave all the other options as
they are, and click START. You’ll get a message warning you that all
the data on your USB drive will be destroyed, so as long you’re happy with that, click OK. Now you need to wait a short while, and when
this box says READY, you can click CLOSE. And you can eject the memory stick, then unplug
it. HOW TO WIPE YOUR OLD COMPUTER Now we’re going to move over to the computer
we want to securely wipe. Plug in the USB stick, and turn on the computer.
You’ll need to get the computer to boot from the USB drive. All computers are different,
so check the instructions for your computer, or search the Internet for help. Once you’ve booted from the USB drive, you
will see Darik’s Boot and Nuke. Read this screen carefully because it will destroy all
the data on the computer. Press the Enter key now. Wait for the program to start. You might see
some errors while it’s starting up, but you can probably ignore them. When DBAN starts, you’ll see a screen like
this, with a list of all the drives in your computer. You can normally work out which
drive is which by looking at the names, or by looking at the capacity of each drive in
megabytes or gigabytes. I’ve worked out that the drive I want to erase
is on the third line, so I need to move down to this line using my arrow keys. Now I need
to press the Space Bar to select it. Now look up here in the top left of the screen.
These are the options for the type of wipe the program will do. You can probably leave
these options as they are, but the one thing you might want to change is the Method. It’s currently set to DoD Short – DoD stands
for the American Department of Defense, so if it’s good enough for them it’s probably
OK for us. Let’s have a look at the other options – press the M key. You can scroll through these options and read
a bit about them. Feel free to do your research and decide which one satisfies your needs,
but as a general rule, the number of passes describes how many times the wipe is repeated,
so a higher number is more secure. I’m going to stick with DoD short, and I’m
going to press the Space Bar to select it. Now we’re ready to start. If you’re absolutely
sure you’ve chosen the drive you want to wipe, Press F10. Now the wipe starts. You’ll get some good
feedback on the progress of the wipe, and how long it’s going to take. When it completes,
turn off the computer, and it should be safe to dispose of – whether you want to sell the
machine or recycle it. After you’ve finished, store the DBAN drive
somewhere safe out of reach, or better still erase it, because you don’t want to risk erasing
another computer by accident. Please let me know in the comments below how
you got on, and if you found this video helpful please give it the thumbs up.
If you’d like to see more tutorials like this from me in future, click on my face below,
and hit the red subscribe button. And while you’re here, why not check out
one of my other videos, like this one on how to send encrypted files by email. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next

How to securely erase your old computer’s hard drive
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