Gone today, here tomorrow
The pace of technology change makes it almost certain that at some point you’ll be getting rid of old computer hardware and replacing it with the latest all singing, all dancing model.
But what about all that data, some of it confidential, on the old computer’s disks? You’ve deleted it, and that means it’s gone, right? Wrong! Merely deleting doesn’t actually remove the data, it only removes the system’s pointers to it. It’s still there, so with the right tools, maybe in the wrong hands, it can be retrieved. Even formatting the disk doesn’t guarantee that all the data has gone forever.
There are several software products available which ‘shred’ data, as opposed to the standard delete. But even then, unless you do multiple ‘shreds’ (7 is the recommended number to be really sure), bits of it can still be retrieved if you know how.
So make sure you really have got rid of the data before you ditch the computer. And make sure you get rid of it in such a way that it can’t be got back.
The only way to be really sure that your data can’t be retrieved is to smash the disk drive into little pieces – which, admittedly, could be fun!