Wiping a laptop hard drive

Eric Stork

Sep 21, 2014
On an older laptop that is going to be sent to electronic recycling, I planned to wipe it of personal information by using the CD to reinstall everything as it was when purchased.

Except the CD is missing.

I thought I could just format the hard drive then but am not sure how to proceed with that. How can I accomplish this? Thanks.
You can just grab an iso file of it off the internet somewhere, then burn it onto a CD. There are various tutorials out there on this process. Ordinarily, you'd need a product key in order to activate it and really use it, but since you are sending it in to be recycled, that's not even necessary.
Surest way to wipe a hard drive - take it out of the laptop, go to a machine shop, and drill thru it at several places. You can also feed your inner child by dissasembling it to see what makes it tick ;)

If you want just to wipe it out - get Linux on LiveCD, boot it and reformat (you can even install it on the hard drive, and play with it).

mkfs has many options, and can always be combined with "dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/sda" ;)