So, you've had your computer for a few years and it is time to get rid of it. The problem is that you've had it so long, you don't even remember what kind of information is on it anymore. Or, you know you've got data on that computer that you don't want anybody else to see. The answer to your problem is a program called Boot and Nuke, usually referred to as DBAN.
DBAN is a downloadable file that is then extracted directly onto a CD or DVD. You can boot any working computer from this disk and, by following the prompts, COMPLETELY erase the entire hard drive. This is different from your standard Windows deletions, that only erase the initial portion of a file. Windows methods are quick, allow you to reuse the space on your hard drive, but leave the data there until the computer reuses those sections of the hard drive. DBAN doesn't take any shortcuts. It not only deletes all portions of the file, but also writes random information across the disk to prevent recovery attempts. This can take several hours to perform, but the good news is you don't have to sit and watch it.
Best of all, DBAN is a free program that you can download from www.dban.org. You just need to have an empty CD to burn it to!
Of course, if you would like any help getting this program, we'd be glad to help.