Hard Drive Eraser is a free program to completely remove data from the hard drive partitions. You might already know when you delete data from the hard drive only its reference is removed and the data still resides in the system, and it is possible to recover the data with other programs. There are several applications to erase data from the hard drives so that it can’t be restored, Hard Drive Eraser is one such program which can be useful to remove sensitive data from the used hard drives.
Hard drive Eraser works with Windows XP and Windows Vista OS, and supports NTFS, FAT32, FAT file systems (both XP and Vista use NTFS by default). It can be used to erase whole hard drives or individual partitions, in the case of partitions the primary partition can’t be erased but others can be erased (ex: “C:” can’t be erased, but others like D,E,F can be erased). It overwrites the data with junk binary data making it impossible to recover the original data from the hard drive.
Hard Drive Eraser uses four algorithms to erase the data, the first one just writes zeros and is the simplest among the four. The second “DOD 5220-22.M” is the default one which overwrites data in three phases with random values. Third one compiles with the US Army specification to erase and the last one Peter Guttman method which overwrites data in 35 passes, it is much slow.
Hard Drive Eraser is a free program for windows xp and vista licensed under GPL, use it to remove sensitive data from the hard drives. It can be downloaded from here.