A security measure when selling, giving away or retiring a computer. A file wipe completely erases the data from the hard disk.
Deleting Does Not Erase
When a file is deleted in an application or file manager, only the file name in the directory is marked as deleted. The data still reside in the disk sectors until overwritten by new data by the same or some other application. In the meantime, if somebody wanted the file badly enough, it can be reconstructed from the sector data.
Wipe Means Write
Wiping the hard disk means actually erasing the data in the disk sectors. For maximum security, experts claim that random data should be written into the sectors several times, because forensic analysis can detect the previous magnetic residue if the magnetic bits are overwritten only once. In addition, caches such as the recycle bin and trash can are also cleared. See wipe