Securely Erasing Your Hard Drive - Comments Page 1

Category: Hard-Drives




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Posted by:

pete
09 Mar 2018

Fire works well too!

Posted by:

JohnMTO
09 Mar 2018

A double load of double ought buck at 3 ft. is most effective.

Posted by:

Jerry Gershner
09 Mar 2018

Depending on where you live, and if your local refuse removal service takes your garbage to an incinerator, it seems that it would be just as easy to discard the hard drive with your garbage. I sincerely doubt that anyone is going to rummage through the garbage in the truck with the hope that they may find a hard drive.

Even if your garbage goes to a landfill, your hard drive mixed with your other garbage in a large bag is probably just as secure being buried at the dump.

Posted by:

RichF
09 Mar 2018

I usually use my drill but I've always wondered how much to drill it.

Posted by:

Daryl
09 Mar 2018

I never let any of my old hard drives leave my possession. They all get a half dozen holes in the drill press and a few bumps of the hammer for good measure.

Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
09 Mar 2018

Another good and inexpensive way is to download DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) which you can get from (https://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/files/latest/download), put it on a CD or USB, boot it and run.
It is a highly specialized Linux distribution that does nothing but wipe your hard disk.

Posted by:

Frank
09 Mar 2018

For most practical purposes, isn't it sufficient to just erase the free space?

Posted by:

Jim
09 Mar 2018

Just ask Hillary She did it with a cloth.

Posted by:

Mark H.
09 Mar 2018

Just a quick comment about Bitlocker in Windows. If your computer doesn't have a TPM (most personal computers don't), you can still use Bitlocker by changing policy settings using gpedit. You must make sure to not lose the recovery key (print it out and store it in safe place and you can save it to your Microsoft account as well.) You can use a USB key or a password to start the computer. Again, you need Windows 7 Ultimate or the Pro versions of 8, 8.1, or 10 to use it.

Posted by:

Jim
09 Mar 2018

The solution to all this paranoia concerning discarded computers seems fairly simple. Just remove the hard drive before discarding it. It's a simple task to perform and you can sleep at night.

Posted by:

Robert A.
09 Mar 2018

Just where would one expect to find one of these Ameri-Shred machines. I don't think you'd find one at the local Best Buy or Office Depot. And if you could find a business that has one, I'm sure it would charge an arm and a leg to destroy the HDD to justify using a machine that big and complicated.

It seems that it would be easier to just open up an old hard drive, remove the disks, and rub sandpaper, emery cloth or a ScotchBrite pad over the surfaces, to ruin them, for 30 seconds, or so, then maybe flex the disk back and forth, until it snaps in half, or use a pair of tin snips to cut it into fragments Job done, and zero dollars used.

Posted by:

Lady Fitzgerald
09 Mar 2018

You're behind the times, Bob. Today's HDDs have such tight cylinders, a single pass of writing 1s and/or 0s is sufficient to wipe data sufficiently to protect you from all but three letter government agencies (and if you need to worry about them, they will probably confiscate your drives before you have a chance to destroy them).

The utilities that come with SSDs, such as Samsung magician, will include secure erase.

Posted by:

Jim Horn
09 Mar 2018

I have a hand-held grinder that I use to chop my old hard drives up into pieces. Then I dump the pieces into different trash containers.

Posted by:

Ralph Balch
09 Mar 2018

I dismantle the hard drive, melt the disk and salvage the powerful magnets. They are very useful in the shop.

Posted by:

bb
10 Mar 2018

I agree with lady Fitzgerald on hard disks - one pass of even just zeros are sufficient. Scott Moulton, owner of the popular data recovery service MyHardDriveDied.com, addresses exactly this question in the 'My Hard Drive Died #27' podcast. (Jump to the 36:15 point for the question. And now you know what my handle stands for. :-))

For those that don't want to futz with DOS to run the secure erase program, download the last free version of the 'Parted Magic' ISO. That disk, among lots of other good utilities, includes a the secure erase program in a windows-like GUI. Much easier to use that the DOS version. All the standard free download sites have Parted Magic.

Posted by:

Doc
10 Mar 2018

I use MAFIA DISK DOCTOR like JohnMTO. Though I prefer a .270 cal. at 50 yards (46m) to take the disk down and crack the case in the process. Then hang the disk from a tree limb, and a handy 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 (LC/ACP) or a .357 Sig from about 10 feet (3m) will finish the job. (Eye protection mandatory!)

Unfortunately a .22LR while the 'caliber of choice' for most Mafia hits, won't break the case and only dents some disks, and you have the problem of 'blow-back' or 'back-splatter' if you are too close.

As a final step, if you have a large microwave, you can nuke them for a couple of minutes to destroy what's left of the surface. (shut off the nuker is you see ANY spark at all -keep your finger near the 'off' button. Those sparks will destroy the magnitron in the micro, and kill it too. Co-lateral damage is not acceptable).

Comes in handy if you are a hunter, or a target shooter to keep your skill set up. A FMJ .308 cal. (7.62 NATO) works well too, and that's my target rifle's caliber of use.

I've found that often enough 00 buck from 'close enough' doesn't always blow the HD casing apart or reach the disks inside. JohnMTO may use a longer shell than my 1897 Win 12ga.

MAFIA DISK DOCTOR: WHEN IT ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, MUST BE DONE TODAY! (Dead Disks tell no stories).

Posted by:

Oliver J Fleming
10 Mar 2018

I find dismantling the drive is good. The platters are highly polished and are good mirrors, also there are powerful magnets in there that can also be useful.

Posted by:

Bear
10 Mar 2018

I use diskpart:-
This will show you how to use the clean or clean all command on a selected disk to delete all of it's MBR or GPT partitions, volumes, and any hidden sector information on MBR disks is overwritten.


The data on the HDD is not written over using the clean command like it does with the clean all command below. With the clean command, the data on the HDD is only marked as being deleted instead and is only written over when new data is written/saved to the same location on the HDD next.

OR

You could use the clean all command (secure erase) to do the above and also have each and every disk sector on the HDD written over and zeroed out completely to securely delete all data on the disk to help prevent the data from being able to be recovered. "Clean All" takes about an hour per 320 GB to finish running.

Warning
You do not want to use clean all on a SSD disk often. Having every sector written over to 0 on a SSD can help reduce it's life span.


1. In Windows 7, open an elevated command prompt, or a command prompt at boot.

2. Click on Disk Management in the left pane, and make note of the disk # in the middle pane of the disk that you want to clean or clean all. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: For example, I would use Disk 1 if I wanted to use clean or clean all on my USB key drive.

3. In the elevated command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter.

4. In the elevated command prompt, type list disk and press Enter. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: This will give you a list of disk numbers to select from.

5. In the elevated command prompt, type select disk # and press Enter. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: You would substitute # for the disk number listed that you want to use clean or clean all on. For example, I want to use one of them on Disk 1 (from step 1) for my USB key drive, so I would type select disk 1 and press Enter.

6. Do either step 7 or 8 below for which command you would like to use.

7. To Use the Clean Diskpart Command
NOTE: See the green INFO box at the top of the tutorial for more information about this command. This command will wipe the HDD quickly.

8. A) In the elevated command prompt, type clean and press Enter. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: This will not take long to finish. Think of it as being like a quick format.

9. To Use the Clean All Diskpart Command
NOTE: See the green INFO box at the top of the tutorial for more information about this command. This command will wipe the HDD, and perform a secure erase. "Clean All" takes about an hour per 320 GB to finish running. It's best to only use this command if you wanted to help make sure that the data on the HDD cannot be recovered say when giving or selling the HDD to another person.

10. A) In the elevated command prompt, type clean all and press Enter. You will see the command prompt below as is until the "clean all" command is finished. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: This will take quite some time (several hours or more) to finish depending on how large the disk is since it is writing over each and every sector on it to zero. Think of it as being like a full or low level format.

11. When finished, in the elevated command prompt, type exit and press Enter. Close the elevated command prompt.

Posted by:

LouDamelin
10 Mar 2018

No one has mentioned my procedure. I delete all partitions on the hard drive. Then I create a new partition using all the space on the hard drive. Then I do a full format; and install an operating system.

I thought this made any data recovery impossible for us ordinary folk with ordinary tools. I doubt if the CIA could get any more than a few random bits if they wanted to spend all the time and expense involved; but why would they?

I just hate to see good hard drives destroyed when they can be reused.

Posted by:

Roger
10 Mar 2018

I always remove & keep my old hard drives. You never know when you might want to spin them up & retrieve some old file or image. I have done on several occasions.

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