If you're going to get rid of a hard drive, or a whole machine, by throwing it away, or sending it to your grandmother, or, maybe, by deploying it somewhere where the data isn't going to be in the safest of environments, then you may be interested in finding out how to wipe the drive.

Lots of friends have asked about this capability in the past several years. "How do I do make sure no one can see my Britney Spears downloads in the year 2525?" Well, aside from counting on everyone else's inability to care, and their own insignificance in the world, there were some options for ensuring that precious data isn't seen by the rest of the world.

Now, I think we've got the best option, Ultimate Boot CD. This freeware is insanely great. I've not even tried out all of the tools available on it– it's that big. You can boot your computer from it and then wipe the drive with various tools. And if you need to perform a rescue or diagnostic, it's on the cd too.

There was a freeware product available a several years ago that was for a floppy disk, but this, as one might expect, is sooo much more robust. UBC's interface is DOS based, with an easy GUI.

Included on the CD are four hard disk wiping tools, including AutoClave and http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm. These two tools, alone, should do cleanse any hard drives.

Try it, or recommend it to the next person who calls you up, asking how to wipe the digital detritus of their last bad relationship from their lives.