going to be donating a couple of old computers to Goodwill. What is the best way
to wipe the hard drives? Is reformatting safe enough?
Here is a link to Darik’s Boot and Nuke (aka DBaN):
You can download a floppy image or CD image depending on whether the machines have a floppy drive.
Another option to use is Eraser which runs under Windows. This would be useful if the hard drives are extras or USB type that can be plugged into a Windows computer. Eraser is also useful on any computer – after sending something to the Recycle Bin – you can choose to “erase” the recycle bin rather than just emptying it.
*It has a “create nuke disk” option – but creates a floppy not a CD – for erasing an entire drive.
*With any of these programs, you can typically choose one of several erase methods such as “1 pass” or “35 pass”. Typically a 1 or 3 pass is plenty unless there is top-secret data you are worried about. The more passes – the longer it takes.