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How can I fully wipe a HD?

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September 3, 2006 1:42:46 AM

I just picked up a 400GB HD for $105 (or maybe $85 depending on a rebate) so I'm thinking about getting rid of one of my HDs, a Seagate 7200.8 300GB. I see no reason for 1.1TB of total HD space.

A guy down the hall is interested in buying the HD and he said he'd pay me $75 for it, which is $5 more than what I paid for it, so I'm happy to sell it.

Besides some porn, program files and games, I've had some personal info stored on that drive- passwords and such. It's been deleted but I heard that people can still recover that info somehow.

So is there a way to completely wipe a HD clean.. without destroying it?

More about : fully wipe

September 3, 2006 2:07:56 AM

there is no complete way to wipe data from a hd, if someone is expert enough then they can get access to your deleted data (somehow). The only way to protect your data from a hd that is no longer required is to take a hammer to it. However you could take your chances and just format it. These days I find it safer to just write passwords down on paper and keep it safe.
September 3, 2006 2:09:39 AM

Full format three times and the drive is considered clean by law enforcement (I think).
Related resources
September 3, 2006 2:10:43 AM

Active KillDisk

The freeware version overwrites with one pass. This is secure enough for all software programs to be unable to recover any data, but theoretically, a well-funded adversary could take the drive apart in a lab and resurrect the data.

The pay version implements DOD 5220.22-M secure deletion (3 overwrites total - constant data on the first pass, the bitwise complement on the second pass, and random data on the third pass, then verification that every sector was overwritten with the random data). This renders the data unrecoverable even with the lab techniques.

Don't run it on the wrong drive. 8O
September 3, 2006 2:23:22 AM

Other than the suggestion of the hammer, which would really wipe it out, there are a number of programs which will work, one of which SomeJoe suggested. On the cheaper end, do a full format, fill it with a bunch of games, then format it again, fill it with some games, and format it again. You might run through the cycle four or five times. That should sufficiently scramble everything so that there is little left to read. Yes, it is a bit time consuming, but you want the money, right? Otherwise, just keep it and have a terabyte or so of hard drive space.

Sure, someone who is an extreme expert might be able to find something, but probably not. Besides, the "guy down the hall" probably is not an extreme expert, nor does he likely have the money to hire one. He will just fill it with whatever stuff he has to put on it.
September 3, 2006 2:30:03 AM

Eraser 5.8

This program will gave someone who's determined to extract files from your hard drive a hard time, and it's costly even to try.
September 3, 2006 2:30:06 AM

There are MANY programs out there used to wipe a hard drive to DOD standards. DOD standards require 3 passes to verify data is gone.

I use a BartPE boot disk (www.nu2.nu) and install the Vopt plugin. Vopt (http://www.goldenbow.com/VoptXP.htm) is a disk defragmentation tool that will also wipe a drive. I believe they have a functional demo.

My personal favorite is from Hard Disk Manager Professional from Paragon (http://www.paragon-software.com/hdm/) but I don't think they offer a functional trial version.

Or you can just search Google for other products. (http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&q=erase+...)

Good Luck... :) 
September 3, 2006 3:45:57 AM



dont to that it will wipe all your harddrives!!!!!!!!!!!!
i agree with Ruler_of_Geeks just search google
September 3, 2006 4:14:05 AM

Ok, thanks for all the suggestions guys... it sounds like putting a bunch of data on it and then formatting it is what helps the most. But with 300GB, that'll take a while.

Maybe I'll just have 1.1TB of space. Not many people can claim that... :lol: 
September 3, 2006 5:19:46 AM

Why won't you try the Eraser?

Format the drive once then let the program erase unused space, select the Gutmann setting. Then leave for a day.

Either way you still be formatting the drive to use for you TB setup. Or not.
September 3, 2006 6:01:44 AM

from what i understand, Data can only be recovered if it has not yet been overwrittern. So you could always try hte steps above but ive done something rahter unusal that seems to work. I open up notepad and save the file. Then i keep on making copies of it until hte notepad covered the whole harddrive. Because, hte file is so small, it pratically rewrites every sector so even recovery programs wont see the original data (just your billions of copies of Notepad). WARNING!! (this takes a while though..)
September 3, 2006 6:24:39 AM

As far as I know, there is no fool-proof method to totally erase your hdd. However if you do a few overwrites using the utilities that came with your hdd or one of the other methods mentioned by others so far, it'd cost way more to recover any usable data off your disk than the data could possibly be worth. That being said, I personally just burn any drives I get rid of, as by the time I dispose of them they're not worth much anyhow (plus it's fun to watch!). Or, if you're that concerned about disposal just do what the US military does and sandblast your drive to shreads and then burn the remnants.
September 3, 2006 6:25:03 AM

Pfft more people than you think have that these days :p 

My HDD setup:

C: 240GB (2* 7200.8 120GB SATA drives, RAID 0)

F: 1100GB (1* 7200.9 400GB PATA, 1* Maxtor 250GB SATA, 1* Maxtor 250GB PATA, 1* Maxtor 200GB PATA, JBOD array)

And I've just ordered two 7200.10 750GB drives to replace my F: drive, the components of which will go into other computers :D 

Hard disks are soooo cheap these days its insane!


Back to the subject, unless the guy has reason to I highly doubt he is going to bugger arround trying to recover the drive, just format and repartition, run any one of the utilites suggested, preferably a free one, and you are as safe as when you cross the street on your way to work :p 
September 3, 2006 6:34:53 AM

hey man learn some very basic programing. write a procedure and let the procdure fill the hard disk text files :lol: 
a c 155 G Storage
September 3, 2006 6:49:33 AM

if you just copy the same files over and over again....lets say ure pron collection....fill the drive with it......format and repeat for good measure.....then thats should do it for free.....write a batch file to do it for you....then leave it....and when you come back with the no space error.....well you know....also some software for drives that will write 0's to the drive....well that should do it too....i mean thats like no data in every cluster/sector/whatever....

but as said above drives are cheap.....maybe you should just keep it....makes a good backup drive...
September 3, 2006 7:01:47 AM

Look into Ontrack's dataeraser utility. The personal version is usd 30, but buy it once and use it forever.... I personally use it when RMA'ing a drive. One pass is pretty safe, do three passes and Ontrack says even they would have a hard time recovering it. Not quite as good as professional, but that's usd 500...

They are also on NIST's list of certified cleaning utilities...

OK, cheaper options... Just build a DOS boot disk (6.22 recommended), remove all existing partitions, make some partitions, format the lot etc. for a few times. Companies like Ontrack will then gladly charge your buddy in the neighbourhood of USD 5k to recover that. (And they are GOOD! Recovered a drive that had some very valuable data on it after it had been through a fire hot enough to warp the case and the platters...)

Just bear in mind that its all time consuming, but just kick off a format session before you have to be somewhere else for a few hours, do this several days in a row and you are pretty safe.

I use the Ontrack, one pass, and then feel safe enough to return a drive back to the manufacturer...

A bit long winded, but hope it helps. better safe than find out later the whole world knows your banking details....
September 3, 2006 7:05:25 AM

wipe drive 3.0 will over write a complete drive up to 12 times. should prevent anyone from ever getting anything off of it.
September 3, 2006 9:31:01 AM

Couldn't you just do a low level format/zero fill? Just about any HDD utility will allow you to do a low level format. From what I understand a zero fill and a low level format will fill the all available space with zeros. In essence all data would be erased and replaced with zero's. Just a thought.... let me know what you guys think.

wes

edit: most of these are free as well.
September 3, 2006 11:01:44 AM

dude ... its very simple

seagate itself have utility that helps u zero fill the drive
http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/
get the seatool desktop

its free for yr hdd.
or get yrself ultimate bootdisc or similar..they have related tools as well
September 3, 2006 11:05:31 AM

yeah UBD is a good one. You can search Ultimate Bootdisk in google and just use it. Good call on the ultimate bootdisk.
September 3, 2006 12:18:36 PM

Quote:
Ok, thanks for all the suggestions guys... it sounds like putting a bunch of data on it and then formatting it is what helps the most. But with 300GB, that'll take a while.

Maybe I'll just have 1.1TB of space. Not many people can claim that... :lol: 


i dont understand why you wouldnt want the space i have over 1.5TB(from all the computers i own) and need more lol, im currently using friends server to store non critical stuff. his server has about 1.3TB. and thats almost full too.

as the others have said the only way to make sure a drive cant be recovered using software is to do a pass of atleast 3. for it to be unreadable to those with advanced hardware a 5 passes might not even do it.

the way it works is to flatten the data on the disk, as you kno data is stored in 0s and 1s, lets say 1s are bumps of 0.6 and 0s are 0.4, when a pass goes over this data it isnt erased, its just under what the harddrive can read so lets say your drive can only read 1s and 0s of upto 0.3, once youve run your software the 1s are now 0.2 and the 0s are now 0.1. which your drive cant read but someone with a hi-tech laser scanner like the ones used in CSI can pick up the very small 1s and 0s and reconstruct the data.
September 3, 2006 1:16:52 PM

Hey Vinny,
Here's what you do....go to MS website and / or google this file type delpart.exe this is an old Win 98 .exe utility that totally removes any trace of partitions. I ALWAYS do this with my drives THEN I REFORMAT when "cleaning" them just in case any trojans or other crap is lying around that I don't want to contaminate my new install. It's a very effective tool an I still use it. The user interface is very rudimentary but easy to follow.

I got it from a tech guy friend of mine at the company I used to work for. It fits on a floppy disk so it's very small file but it packs an awsome punch in terms of wiping data in cases such as yours.

If ya can't find it, PM me and I can email you the file ...........cheers :wink:

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September 3, 2006 1:41:45 PM

Fully format the HDD, fill it up with 300GB data and format it again thats all.
September 3, 2006 2:14:49 PM

Use Eraser, it's free and fast.
I you sell your HD to a normal PC user, use a simple one-pass erasing procedure.
3, 7 and 35 pass rewriting are needed only for commercial, enterprise and critical activities where a concurrent could (spending a lot of money and time) try to recover information about patents, customers, military info, etc.
But for personal use and normal users a single pass is all you need: there is no software or standard controller that can recover rewritten data, you need extremely expensive electonics equipment to do that.
September 3, 2006 2:17:41 PM

Try an electromagnet and pass it over the drive that will do the trick
September 3, 2006 2:22:34 PM

That's the best idea yet......Once you do that....you won't be able to get JACK S@*%%# from it :wink:
September 3, 2006 2:23:12 PM

Quote:
hey man learn some very basic programing. write a procedure and let the procdure fill the hard disk text files :lol: 


now y would i do that... i have a 8 year old sister ;-)
September 3, 2006 2:25:31 PM

You're gonna need a REALLY strong magnet to do that... any regular magnet wont be strong enough. (I know ive use magentic screwdrivers to mount hds... ive left kitchet magnets on them by accident). Besides the motor in the HD has magnets in it... my best recommendation is only of those older Bulk Eraser things for VHS. Pass VHS tape over it and the whole tape is wiped. Pass hd over.. (i might get stuck in the magnetic field, but im pretty sure nothing will be recoverable after that...)
September 3, 2006 2:38:37 PM

:lol: 
LMFAO
an eight year old sister....I like that :lol: 
September 3, 2006 2:45:06 PM

Quote:
there is no complete way to wipe data from a hd, if someone is expert enough then they can get access to your deleted data (somehow). The only way to protect your data from a hd that is no longer required is to take a hammer to it. However you could take your chances and just format it. These days I find it safer to just write passwords down on paper and keep it safe.


If you are clueless in a subject then please keep your mouth shut. There are many programs out there that cost much less than he will get for the hard drive that can wipe data so hard that even a lab cant extract anything usefull.
September 3, 2006 2:57:03 PM

Everyone here is making a huge deal about this... if you format the drive twice (quick and or full) 99.9% of computer geeks on the planet will not be able to get "usable" data from it. -They might be able to pull some "data" but it won't be of any use (i.e. run or open).

I work in an IT deparment of a large corp. and we use Ontrac to recover data. They do work for NASA and the FBI and it costs over 2k to get data off bad drives, and most of it isn't even useful.

Also, to those people who think a hammer will clean a drive you are sadle mistaken. A drillpress and a magnet will wipe a drive, denting the platter with a hammer still leave the data in tact...

I wouldn't worry about the guy down the hall stealing data from you. Once he the OS on the drive, there is no way in hell he will be able to get anything off it...
September 3, 2006 4:13:58 PM

Quote:
Use Eraser, it's free and fast.
I you sell your HD to a normal PC user, use a simple one-pass erasing procedure.
3, 7 and 35 pass rewriting are needed only for commercial, enterprise and critical activities where a concurrent could (spending a lot of money and time) try to recover information about patents, customers, military info, etc.
But for personal use and normal users a single pass is all you need: there is no software or standard controller that can recover rewritten data, you need extremely expensive electonics equipment to do that.


I've never use Eraser to fully erase files on hd, but i did erase files on usb drive with Eraser using that 35 pass rewriting.I used *cough* "payware-made-free" (PLEASE don't do this; i did because i have to) apps named Recover My Files, n guess what? :?: :!: I managed to get almost all 8O of my previous data in perfect condition and it scares the hell out of me :?



Quote:

So is there a way to completely wipe a HD clean.. without destroying it?


Why this?

Quote:
dont to that it will wipe all your harddrives!!!!!!!!!!!!


Just asking though :?: ....
September 3, 2006 11:47:10 PM

Quote:
there is no complete way to wipe data from a hd, if someone is expert enough then they can get access to your deleted data (somehow). The only way to protect your data from a hd that is no longer required is to take a hammer to it. However you could take your chances and just format it. These days I find it safer to just write passwords down on paper and keep it safe.


If you are clueless in a subject then please keep your mouth shut. There are many programs out there that cost much less than he will get for the hard drive that can wipe data so hard that even a lab cant extract anything usefull.

I may just take that hammer to your head and do us all a favour, you useless newbie twat

I'm also surprised you pretend to know anything about 'hard' since you seem so completely soft in the head and probably soft in other parts of your body as well.
September 4, 2006 12:30:06 AM

Quote:
I may just take that hammer to your head and do us all a favour, you useless newbie twat


Let's calm down please, gents. There is no need for useless banter. Let's stick to the facts here.

The fact is that yes, there are indeed methods to completely erase the data from a hard drive with no possibility of recovery, software, hardware, or lab methods.

The US Government approves of the DOD 5220.22-M 3-overwrite method to destroy all classified data with the exception of top secret. There are tools out there that will do the DOD 7-overwrite method that is even more secure than that, and tools that can use the Guttmann method (35 overwrites) that even security experts say is overkill.

All of the methods presented so far that involve overwriting the entire drive with data (like copying games to it, doing a long format, copying more data to it, etc.) are all variants on the several-overwrite methods. The freeware tools that do 3 overwrites are all essentially the same in their method.

The one method that I saw in the thread that cannot be used is to use the VHS tape degausser. This will not work on a hard drive. The magnetic force needed to flip bits on a hard drive platter is well in excess of what the hand degaussers can generate.
September 4, 2006 12:54:49 AM

ask the blacksmith to melt the metal
September 4, 2006 12:59:03 AM

yeah, the sad part is that there are still people on this thread that would say that your data is sill "vulneralbe" ohhh. wah wah...
September 4, 2006 1:01:43 AM

my apologies, those things are strong enough to soemtimes get a VHS tape stuck to them, i figured it would be enough to erase a hard drive.
September 4, 2006 1:16:08 AM

Quote:
ask the blacksmith to melt the metal


Now that is approved by the US Government for destroying Top Secret data. :D 
September 4, 2006 2:26:59 AM

Quote:

Besides some porn, program files and games, I've had some personal info stored on that drive- passwords and such. It's been deleted but I heard that people can still recover that info somehow.

So is there a way to completely wipe a HD clean.. without destroying it?


Some folks have given you good technical advice. However, I think that in this case the best solution encompasses a little bit of "social engineering". Your data will likely be very safe if you perform the following steps,

1. Overwrite the files that contain personal information.

2. Leave the porn! That will keep him busy away from any thoughts of recovering data. :wink:

HTH.
September 4, 2006 2:44:15 AM

Google a program called "Boot and Nuke". Just make sure you run it correctly becuase it removes EVERYTHING...even the zero sector/track that all the other erase programs don't wipe.

Let that run a few times and even the FBI/CIA/NSA won't recover anything.

EDIT: Here is the link...
http://dban.sourceforge.net/
September 4, 2006 3:10:07 AM

yup, vinlouis is right... why don't you try low level formating your hard disk? it writes zeros on the entire hard disk and overwrites your important data. in other words, it restores the HD to its factory state. Seagate provides a software that can zero-fill HDs in their website.

here is the link:
http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/faq/ata_llfmt_what.html#how
September 4, 2006 4:23:50 AM

Get a fairly good quality magnet and run over. This is tried and tested. It is the best way to scramble the data on your drive. There will always be some data on the drive, best u can do is scramble it. For eg. "Password=MILF" will become "#@$%gr12U*@)+".
September 4, 2006 5:43:29 AM

Quote:
there is no complete way to wipe data from a hd, if someone is expert enough then they can get access to your deleted data (somehow). The only way to protect your data from a hd that is no longer required is to take a hammer to it. However you could take your chances and just format it. These days I find it safer to just write passwords down on paper and keep it safe.


If you are clueless in a subject then please keep your mouth shut. There are many programs out there that cost much less than he will get for the hard drive that can wipe data so hard that even a lab cant extract anything usefull.

I may just take that hammer to your head and do us all a favour, you useless newbie twat

I'm also surprised you pretend to know anything about 'hard' since you seem so completely soft in the head and probably soft in other parts of your body as well.

So you are able to threaten violence. Good. I am not new. Have been around for quite some time. I do not however post alot. You post without knowledge and your inept attempts at giving out "information" on these forums is at best useless and may even cost people money or time. Please for the sake of others just put away your keyboard.
a b G Storage
September 4, 2006 5:53:33 AM

Quote:
from what i understand, Data can only be recovered if it has not yet been overwrittern. So you could always try hte steps above but ive done something rahter unusal that seems to work. I open up notepad and save the file. Then i keep on making copies of it until hte notepad covered the whole harddrive. Because, hte file is so small, it pratically rewrites every sector so even recovery programs wont see the original data (just your billions of copies of Notepad). WARNING!! (this takes a while though..)


Yea make lots of copies, then copy all of them and paste some more, then copy the whole lot and paste again...

Quote:
hey man learn some very basic programing. write a procedure and let the procdure fill the hard disk text files Laughing

Or you could just do this. :D 
September 4, 2006 5:56:55 AM

Aww, come on guys...please.....IMO, nobody's perfect+nobody's correct 100% all the time, sometimes you might miss something...Just help this guy, put aside any gripe....it's not that i'm a busybody, i just don't like this kind of "fight"....make peace not war :wink: ......
September 4, 2006 7:12:07 AM

Actually, I think the low-level format you talking about does MORE by also checking for any bad sectors and blocking them from ever being used again. Then it's like getting a new drive from the factory.
September 4, 2006 11:12:38 AM

yes it only clears soft bad sectors.

once u have physical ones..u will have super hard time zeroing..they keep trying every section. you can prepare to RMA it

sigh
desktop lvl harddisk arent' reliable at all nowadays.
i kept losing terabytes of downloads
the most common is the head crash... everytime have to throw them into the fridge to rescue them. sad

hope the flash based memory drop fast....so we can something fast and reliable.
!