To completely erase the hard drive so no info is recoverable you would zero fill it. Most of the hard drive manufacturers have a downloadable diagnostic utility to test if the hard drive is good or not.....they usually have other utilities as well such as "write 0's to disk" or similar included in the diagnostic program. It usually requires you to make a bootable cd. There are many free utilities searching "zero fill hard disk". This wipes the data permanently with no way to recover. If you simply need the hard drive erased, formatting the hard disk would be the easiest.
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