While not straight open source, I do need to spend some discussing KillDisk. Many of you educators will never need to totally erase your hard disk drives (HDD), but you should think about if that is done in your school system or not. Think about all the confidential information (PEPs, IEPs, email, report cards, etc) stored on your computer. Even networked computers cache files to a local machine. That’s why you need to be aware of this free tool.
KillDisk goes beyond the command line tools (FDISK, FORMAT, etc) to erase and sanitize your equipment. The free application just uses some basic formatting, while the professional version claims to use 17 methods and standards. Definitely a nice option, and one we will go for as a school district. When you think of all the information on school-related computers, all the confidential personnel and student information, the Administrator passwords, you definitely want things to be secure.
KillDisk’s free app would definitely work for personal use. While not a 100% foolproof eraser, I would definitely feel better knowing I attempted to erase much of my HDD when throwing out an old computer. That’s where I see home users jumping at this software app. You purchase a new computer, and you run KillDisk before throwing out the old one. An extra level of protection before throwing it to the curb. Or if you donate it, knowing you wiped it will greatly help. Of course when trashing, I go a step further and drill through my hard drive, but this would be a great first step.
How do you use KillDisk? You can either burn the .iso file to a CD and boot to the CD (I Used ImgBurn, but any burning software will work) or you can download their USB/Floppy one step program. You always need to make a floppy or USB bootable, so this app does that and puts the app on it as well, all in one step. You follow the directions, and 10 minutes later, your HDD is wiped. I tried this with a laptop and desktop, and sure enough, when it finished and I rebooted: NO OPERATING SYSTEM INSTALLED. Score. A great little app to ease your worry when replacing hardware. Check it out at: http://www.killdisk.com