Probably not something that most people find themselves needing to do all too often, but if you do have a rake load of hard drives you’re passing on to someone I highly recommend Darik’s Boot and Nuke.
Boot and Nuke is a small 2mb iso file which you burn to a cd and boot from. This bootable disk contains a very small linux system which loads up and scans the system for all attached hard drives. You can choose from an array of wiping methods, all of which pass over every part of the hard drive and write new data to it. By running “multiple pass” wipes you remove any possibility of the data that used to be on the drives ever being found again.
This has proven handy for me right now as we’re in the process of getting rid of some old computer parts and passing them on to Lindsay’s Africa Project. Lindsay was in need of RAM and hard drives to help replace machines that have broken down in Kenyan Schools. By going through our collection we’ve come up with 4Gb of RAM, both DDR and SD in various levels from 64Mb sticks to 256Mb sticks. On top of this we’ve come up with 5 old hard drives which vary from 80Gb to 250Gb in size.
We had more parts beyond this but Lindsay was only looking for a very light amount of stuff to take with him. Hopefully this will help to get a few machines up and running again in schools that need it.