This was so easy I felt obliged to blog it. Under our house rule 'not used it in a year, so it has to go', our old P4 laptop is being donated. It held old tax records, Microsoft Money files etc which had to be deleted first.

One free and simple technique is Boot and Nuke. I download the small ISO and used this free ISO burning tool to burn a CD.

The laptop then booted from the CD into a Linux program which looks similar to below once running. I choose the default and it took about two hours to delete a 70GB 7400 rpm hard disk with a DOD Short (three pass) technique:

nukeandboot

Finally another 30 minutes using Averatec's media recovery discs and it is now ready for someone else to enjoy.