How to Erase the Hard Drive on a Compaq Presario

By Melissa Lewis

Presario is a line of PC desktop and laptop computers from Compaq. If you are donating, selling or giving away a Presario, you should erase the content from the hard drive to protect any sensitive information, like passwords and personal account numbers. There are several ways to do this. Some ways simply "erase" the content so that the average user can't find it later, while another completely erases the drive so even the best hacker with the best encryption systems can't access any data. To protect yourself, decide which is best depending on the information stored on your hard drive and who is receiving the computer.

Step 1

Delete all your files using Microsoft Window's Disk Cleanup tool. To do this, open up your Start menu and choose "Programs," then "Accessories." Click on "System Tools" and then "Disk Cleanup." By selecting various boxes, you can delete all your cookies, temporary Internet folders, browsing history, form data and passwords, as well as all the folders and files on your computer. It will even empty your Recycle Bin.

Step 2

After running Disk Cleanup, go through your hard drive to be sure everything was deleted. If not, right-click and select "Delete," and then empty out your Recycle Bin. This will not really delete the information completely, but rather hide it from the average user.

Step 3

Reformat your computer's hard drive as another disk-erasing method. Put your boot disk into the hard drive and start your computer. Type in "Format C:" (or whatever hard drive letter) when prompted.

Step 4

Use your Windows CD as another option for reformatting. During the installation process, choose to reformat your drive. In addition, you can use a disk manager program like Partition Magic. Either way, know that when you reformat your hard drive, you lose all your data, which is why you always back up your data before reformatting; however, the best hackers may be able to recover this lost information.

Step 5

Use software to overwrite your hard drive and completely erase it. This makes it near impossible for anybody to retrieve your data. Purchase a disk-wiping or disk-dumping program such as Active Kill Disk, Drive Scrubber or Inspector E-Maxx. These software programs rewrite over all your content, thereby erasing it in the process. The more times the programs does this (and the more expensive the software), the more likely even those with the best encryption systems will not be able to recover your data.