I learned about an electronics recycling event today, and I had intended to include an ACER mini-laptop which we haven’t used in 4-5 years. I knew that I should erase all data from a device for security purposes before giving it away. Using a pencil’s eraser is not optimal!
The tool I’ve used in the past is the free-for-personal-use DBAN Hard Drive Eraser & Data Clearing Utility. DBAN stands for “Darik’s Boot and Nuke.” This utility won’t work on every kind of storage device and it won’t make your data %100 irretrievable, but it’s adequate for anything short of spycraft and white collar crime. See DBAN’s FAQ for technical details.
Every time I used it before, I had created a boot disk and inserted the boot disk into the PC I wanted to erase. My ACER mini-laptop has no CD or DVD drive. Thankfully, the folks at the electronics recycling center pointed me to RUFUS, a utility which creates bootable USB flash drives. I followed the instructions from Philip Yip, the author of The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide, and things worked like a charm.
Now I possess the USB Flash Drive of Destruction! Bwahaha!