Can anyone recommend the best freeware to completely format and wipe all traces of data from hdd?
Technically there is nothing that can completely wipe a hdd off all data. Meaning it will always be there just not visible. That is to my knowledge. But you can always format the hdd via Dos command or through windows now.
Although, I suppose that will not help if you actually want to reuse the HDD...
Edit: Well, and I guess magnets are not necessarily free...
You could also consider using the Pentagon's HDD shredder (again not free... or creating a reusable HDD... but AWESOME!!)
[Edited by The Admiral, 8/20/2013 6:57:19 AM]
Strong neodymium magnets work but degaussing also erases the device's firmware. You can't really use the HDD anymore after that.
Lol you guys I'm not trying to destroy the hdd I just need the data to be unrestorable, and btw non of the options really guarntee 100% unrecoverable data only fire, completely burn the hdd that will do the trick. Also writing 1's or 0's guarantees nothing but at least to the ordinary user it will suffice.