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completely wiping hdd.

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February 14, 2007 11:54:18 PM

Okay, so I do know how to wipe a computer via reformatting, but my situation is that I need to know what to do in order to completely wipe a hdd without the windows installation disc. Is there a bootable program that I can put on a floppy or something, I just need to make sure that the information on the hdd cannot be recovered; I'm sure there is I just don't know which one is the most common/reliable. Thanks a lot.

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February 15, 2007 12:31:39 AM

Cool, so this is probably legit. Thanks man.
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February 15, 2007 12:48:58 AM

The BEST way to completely wipe a HDD is to burn it @ 1000c for 60min.

If u actually want to keep the hdd... u gotta do whats called a "zero fill"
Go 2 ur hdd makers website 2 d/l the prog.

Some call it a "low level format", technically from what i understand thats BS as that can only happen when they make them. But a zero fill is exactly that. It fills all existing bits on ur hdd with... u guessed it ZERO'S!!!
Formatting doesnt really erase all data, so after u format the FBI can still recover ur pornz!!!
So ZF, will wipe EVERYTHING. After that u can format and ur gooood2goooo

After some viruses u also gotta do a ZF to get rid of them :evil: 

Good luck... it takes AGES.
February 15, 2007 1:48:26 AM

Quote:
The BEST way to completely wipe a HDD is to burn it @ 1000c for 60min.

If u actually want to keep the hdd... u gotta do whats called a "zero fill"
Go 2 ur hdd makers website 2 d/l the prog.

Some call it a "low level format", technically from what i understand thats BS as that can only happen when they make them. But a zero fill is exactly that. It fills all existing bits on ur hdd with... u guessed it ZERO'S!!!
Formatting doesnt really erase all data, so after u format the FBI can still recover ur pornz!!!
So ZF, will wipe EVERYTHING. After that u can format and ur gooood2goooo

After some viruses u also gotta do a ZF to get rid of them :evil: 

Good luck... it takes AGES.

Ok well the thing is I will be doing this for some lady who wants to give her computer away to someone and doesn't want any of her personal information recovered. So it's a job basically, how long exactly do you think it will take? Also after the zero-fill is complete what is the command to format?
That kill disc thing wont work for my application?
February 15, 2007 3:00:45 AM

Quote:
Formatting doesn't really erase all data, so after u format the FBI can still recover ur pornz!!!

Yes and no. Formatting ... the actual "takes forever to finish" non-quick format ... actually does erase all data. It will zero fill all the sectors in the partition formatted.

The problem which the "secure erase" utilities attempt to address is that the data previously written to a sector which has been "zero-filled" can still be recovered by someone with the tools of a forensic lab at their disposal. The secure erase utilities fill a sector with different patterns to attempt to remove the residual magnetic imprint of the original data. The number of times the patterns are written can vary anywhere from "a couple" up to 35 or more times.

This is why the process can take so long. Writing almost every sector on a disk 35 times can take a bit. For example, to secure erase a drive with, say, 58GB on it using 35 passes would require writing over 2,000GB of data. 8O

Quote:
So ZF, will wipe EVERYTHING. After that u can format and ur gooood2goooo. After some viruses u also gotta do a ZF to get rid of them :evil: 

No, it won't. However, it will wipe out everything as far as the recovery tools available to most people are concerned. It will also clear out the data in the boot sector and remove all partition information. So a ZF does delete more than just a secure erase directed at the sectors used by file system. (That's why a zero fill would delete a virus which had infected the boot sectors of a drive).

Quote:
Ok well the thing is I will be doing this for some lady who wants to give her computer away to someone and doesn't want any of her personal information recovered. So it's a job basically, how long exactly do you think it will take?

For most people doing a complete zero-fill with the hard drive's diagnostic disk is probably enough. It all depends on how paranoid the person asking you to clear the disk is about ensuring her data is "erased". Is it enough to erase it to the point where someone using a copy of "GetDataBack" or equivalent won't be able to recover it? Or does she want it erased so that an intensely interested government entity with lots of money and resources would be unlikely to recover anything from it?

Quote:
That kill disc thing wont work for my application?

I only took a brief glance at it, but it looks like it would work. To be thorough you could run the kill disc with a low number of passes and then do the zero fill. That should be plenty if all shes going to do is trash, donate, or sell the drive.

How long it takes depends on how big the drive is that you're going to wipe ... and on how fast the disk can be accessed on the system you use to wipe it. No?

Quote:
Also after the zero-fill is complete what is the command to format?

Any OS install disk should be able to do a quick partition and format of the drive. Or download the install/setup utility from the drive's manufacturer, boot it, and it would also do the partition and format for you.

(But why would you want to? I thought all she wanted you to do was make sure the drive was wiped?)

-john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
February 15, 2007 3:43:20 AM

the drive is just going to be included in the computer she is giving away, I guess the person that's going to be receiving it is just going to use the word processing functions of it. I highly doubt the erase will need to be that throughly done since the person receiving it only uses a typewriter now and this will be their first computer. I doubt they have the forensic technology.:p 
So yea I'll probably just end up using the full reformat option built into the os disc. I just didn't know if it would really be necessary to do a zero write...I might do one anyways, but as of now I'm not sure of the drive manufacturer. Thanks for all the help.
February 15, 2007 1:54:47 PM

OK, there's a few misconceptions here.

1. "Zero-Fill" is exactly what Active@ Killdisk does. Some manufacturer's hard drive utility programs will also do this (I know Maxtor's will). The process is that the program writes 00s to every sector on the hard drive. But nobody calls this process "zero-fill" (I don't know where this term came from).

2. Once the hard drive has been written with 00s, no software can retrieve any data that used to be there, period.

3. Once a hard drive's sectors are overwritten with 00s, yes, technically, the NSA/CIA/FBI/KGB/whoever else could theoretically take the hard drive to a clean room in a lab and use million-dollar equipment to find previously written data.

4. "Secure overwrite" is more that just writing 00s. Secure overwrite involves writing several different patterns of data multiple times. If this is done in a secure manner, then even the NSA/FBI/CIA/KGB cannot retrieve the previously written data in the lab. The pay version of Active@ Killdisk can do secure overwrite. The freeware version only writes 1 pass of 00s.

5. The Windows XP "full format" does not write 00s to every sector. It reads every sector to make sure there are no bad sectors, but doesn't write anything there. Active@ Partition Recovery or Runtime's GetDataBack can easily retrieve data on a hard disk after a Windows full format.

The best thing for your application (ensuring that no private data gets out) is exactly what I told you:

1. Erase the drive with 00s with Active@ Killdisk (or a manufacturer's utility that can erase the drive with 00s - that is equivalent).

2. Reinstall the OS, drivers, and applications.
February 15, 2007 8:41:49 PM

Quote:
5. The Windows XP "full format" does not write 00s to every sector. It reads every sector to make sure there are no bad sectors, but doesn't write anything there. Active@ Partition Recovery or Runtime's GetDataBack can easily retrieve data on a hard disk after a Windows full format.

Yep! He is completely correct about that. (And I am a total idiot :oops:  :(  :oops:  )

FWIW, I tried it ... something I should have done before opening my stupid mouth. (Hindsight is always 20/20). I hooked up my trusty old (as in circa 1996) 1 GB WD Caviar 21600 drive via Firewire and formatted it. I copied a bunch of files to it and then performed an XP "full format". While GetDataBack was not able to recover all the files that were on the disk, it did recover nearly all of them.

I then wrote 0's to the entire drive using the Western Digital diagnostics utility. After doing this GetDataBack was not able to find any file information at all.

So, if you want to make sure the data is gone, don't do a format. Use a utility that actually overwrites the file sectors on the drive as SomeJoe7777 recommended.

I'm going to go sit in the corner of shame now ... :(  :oops:  :( 

-john, the clueless dinosaur
February 15, 2007 10:05:14 PM

Quote:
... (And I am a total idiot :oops:  :(  :oops:  )

I'm going to go sit in the corner of shame now ... :(  :oops:  :( 

-john, the clueless dinosaur


8) Not a problem, man. If I only had a nickel for every mistake I've made ... LOL ...

For what it's worth, I believe way back when, some previous versions of DOS and/or Windows used to actually write 00s when they did a full format. But when hard drives started to get large, they dropped that technique in favor of the "read every sector" technique because back then write rates were much lower than read rates, and the formats were indeed taking hours.
February 15, 2007 10:53:19 PM

well how about this. when i format my harddrive i do it threw dos. i just do the old "format c:" command and format that way. When I do this process would it do a "zero fill" or is it the same as formating with the xp cd??
February 15, 2007 11:01:59 PM

Yeal, all depends on WHY u need to get rid of that data.
If its just a wipe 4 a sale and its not a business PC with sensitive stuff on, a full format reinstalling XP should be fine.
Next step is a ZF cos its fairly sinple, very effective but time consuming, so not fun if ur doing it at a customers house/business... or good if u get paid by the hour. :p 
If the FBI/other acronym can be bothered doing serious data recovery on ur drive, then it aint worth keeping it. Refer to my 1st post. Crack that sucker open and BURN that mofo! Jail is not worth your 200Gb Maxtorz :p  :p  :p 
February 15, 2007 11:06:10 PM

Quote:
Crack that sucker open and BURN that mofo! Jail is not worth your 200Gb Maxtorz :p  :p  :p 


ah best point yet. i vouch that. what does a hard drive go for these days anyways? that old lady probaly has a 40gb ide hard drive anyways.. what does those go for now 20$?? just pick up a new one and smash the old one
February 15, 2007 11:19:47 PM

Quote:
well how about this. when i format my harddrive i do it threw dos. i just do the old "format c:" command and format that way. When I do this process would it do a "zero fill" or is it the same as formating with the xp cd??


What DOS are you going to use? When I was talking about way back when, I'm talking DOS 3.31 and Windows 3.11. I doubt either one could even format a drive larger than 2 GB.

Even Win95 uses DOS 6.22 under the hood. I don't think it writes 00s during a full format.
February 16, 2007 12:03:51 AM

Quote:
well how about this. when i format my harddrive i do it threw dos. i just do the old "format c:" command and format that way. When I do this process would it do a "zero fill" or is it the same as formating with the xp cd??


What DOS are you going to use? When I was talking about way back when, I'm talking DOS 3.31 and Windows 3.11. I doubt either one could even format a drive larger than 2 GB.

Even Win95 uses DOS 6.22 under the hood. I don't think it writes 00s during a full format.

hm i see.. i used to alway format threw dos in win 95/98.. took me a while to figure out how to format threw dos in windowsxp.. their is just something i dont trust about the windows xp format... but i guess the dos format dont 000the sectors out either. o well
February 16, 2007 12:05:38 AM

Quote:
Okay, so I do know how to wipe a computer via reformatting, but my situation is that I need to know what to do in order to completely wipe a hdd without the windows installation disc. Is there a bootable program that I can put on a floppy or something, I just need to make sure that the information on the hdd cannot be recovered; I'm sure there is I just don't know which one is the most common/reliable. Thanks a lot.




Download and install Eraser 5.6 on your computer, after the installation look in program files for Create Nuke Boot Disk, create the bootdisk, boot from it but make sure the drive you're booting into you want erased.

Eraser is Free, I've been using it for about 5 yrs, it is good if you want to completely eliminate files on your running machine, it will erase to department of defense standards or even beyond that.

However the Nuke Boot Disk will wipe your entire HDD if you boot from it.
February 16, 2007 12:09:41 AM

IMO,the next best thing other the info provided/software suggested (I could use that too,TQ a lot!), download iso file of Hiren Boot CD,latest version is version 8.8.There's some useful apps you can use,and it's free!
February 16, 2007 12:15:17 AM

"shred" is a Unix program available on most Linux distributions including the Knoppix live discs. Seven overwriting passes with "shred" will fulfill most Department of Defense security requirements so that should suffice for you. "Darik's Boot and Nuke" is free and downloadable and is basically "shred" for loyal microserfs. You may wish to specify the number of overwriting passes to be made as "shred" defaults with 25 and "Darik's" with over 30.
February 16, 2007 1:37:59 AM

the HDD has to be removed and disassembled, then u take a scratching tool and mark up the shiny surfaces as much as u can.

most hdd's are taken apart with TORX tool or bits on a 6 in 1 driver.

After u scratch the surface, then put on some safety glasses and pound the round discs 10 times with a heavy hammer.
!