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How can I clean my harddrive without an optical drive?

Last response: in Storage
July 19, 2009 1:19:44 PM

I'm going to be selling my netbook on ebay next month. I have had personal and sensitive information on the netbook, and I don't want the buyer to be able to have access to it. I would normally just reformat the harddrive, but it has no optical drive. I hate to buy an external optical dive just for this. Is there any ways I can completely erase the information from my harddrive while keeping the OS intact. The OS is Windows XP 32-bit that came with it when I bought it.
July 20, 2009 12:20:05 AM

well if your netbook supports booting from flash drive you could possibly boot up something like ERD Commander and install from there, i believe it also comes with a disk wipe option, just an idea
July 20, 2009 8:05:32 AM

How would I know if my netbook supports booting from a flash drive? Allso, are you talking about reloading Windows from there?
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July 20, 2009 3:46:04 PM

Install a file shredder program from the USB drive. Use it to erase all of your sensitive data.
July 20, 2009 4:12:52 PM

Option 1) use a USB stick to boot from. There are more than a few recovery tools, and even full blown linux live images, that you can run off a USB stick. Run a factory format of your hard drive about 7 times to prevent someone from trying to recover any data

Option 2) Sell it without a hard drive.

Option 3) Take your Hard Drive out back and smash it with a hammer. Nobody will be getting anything off of it then.
July 20, 2009 4:38:25 PM

So, would resetting the PC back to it's factory settings effectively erase all of the data but keep the OS? I found this method, but I'm unsure of how safe this will make my data.

What is the best data destruction tool that I can use via a USB drive? I'd like something with a friendly user interface or a guide.