Question: I'm getting ready to sell my laptop to someone on Craigslist, and want to be sure they can't use a restore program to access any personal files I've deleted. Is there a way to do that?
Answer: You're wise to be careful here, since there are programs like iRecover that do a very good job of finding and restoring files you've deleted, which means the new owner of your laptop would easily be able to access any files you've deleted - even if you've deleted them from the recycle bin or reformatted the hard drive.
The thing to be aware of is that deleted files are not actually deleted... they're only "marked" as deleted by the operating system.
The only way to truly delete files from a hard drive is to actually write over the top of those files.
Remo Drive Wipe is an advanced drive wipe tool (for Windows), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive or logical drives by overwriting it several times with 9 carefully selected pattern and various international disk wiping standards that are proven to make your data unrecoverable.
Remo also has a File Eraser that does the same thing but focuses on individual files, rather than wiping your entire hard drive. This can be very useful if you want to leave the operating system and installed programs, but erase any personal data files.
I highly recommend you use Remo Drive Wipe to make sure the files on your laptop are permanently deleted, before you sell your laptop to a stranger on Craigslist.
Here's a link to save $10 on the purchase of Remo Drive Wipe.