How to Securely Erase Data in Windows 7

Most people don't know or don't think about securely wiping data from their computer. If they do, they usually go and find an expensive third party software. But, Windows 7 has a utility that anyone can use to securely erase data from their computer. This Windows 7 utility is a accessed through the command line and it's called CIPHER.EXE.

The command for the Cipher utility is as follows; CIPHER /W C:\FOLDER

You would replace C:\FOLDER for the location that you want to securely erase. For example, C:\Users\Jane Smith\Music

When you use the Cipher utility to erase data it will write 1s, 0s, and then some random characters to each sector of your hard drive to erase the data securely. The Cipher utility is nothing new, it has been around since Windows 2000. Although, the wipe feature is new to the Windows 7 operating system.

Using a utility like the Cipher utility should be used with caution. But, I think it's a great utility to use if you're planning on giving or selling someone your computer and/or hard drive because it will erase the data forever.