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Erase Your Data Securely

From Lockergnome:
No matter how many times you tell people, they just don?t get that formating is simply not enough! The BBC reports that many companies out there are just not taking the time to make sure all of the data is being properly ?zeroed out? by a professional. I guess this can be attributed to sheer stupidity, but let me tell you one thing. If my bank or something like it ever got me in a world of hurt, there would be heck to pay!

A University of Glamorgan study found more than half the hard drives they saw still contained sensitive information.
It is feared some of the information could be used by criminals.
The Information Commissioner's Office, which monitors data disposal, has said it will be tough on any organisations breaching the Data Protection Act.
The study examined 105 hard drives which had been purchased on internet auction sites and was able to access 92 of them.
The data recovered by the university team included staff passwords and national insurance numbers, a template to print a university degree and even detailed information about school children.
Researchers found 57% of the readable disks contained data which allowed the original owners - ranging from organisations in the leisure and financial services industries to a number of universities - to be identified.
A fifth of the disks contained financial information, including sales receipts and profit and loss reports.

There are many free programs that will securely erase your data.  Here is one that will securely erase a single file, a folder, or an entire hard drive:

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