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View Full Version : How do I initialize or 'scrub' a hard disk


Keifers
10-26-2011, 09:14 PM
I'm not sure what the technical term is, but what I'm planning to do is donate an old laptop of mine and before I do that, I want to remove all my personal files, data, etc., from the hard drive so no-one can access it.

Can anyone give me some pointers or tell me how to do this?

Many thanks.

rufusbgood
10-26-2011, 09:30 PM
See items 3 and 4.

http://www.microsoft.com/business/smb/en-au/harddrive.mspx

Fearsome Forehand
10-26-2011, 10:12 PM
You never know who will end up with your old PC. If someone who knows what they are doing gets it, the files you thought you deleted are suddenly recoverable. There is no substitute for removing the hard drive and taking a hammer to it. That is the most secure method.

Short of that, there are programs that erase and overwrite your hard drive. If you google erasing (or wiping) a hard drive, you should get some programs that will work on XP or later systems. My understanding is the overwriting is the key as mere erasure (or reformatting) still allow for data recovery.

hollywood9826
10-27-2011, 06:44 AM
If you want to just wipe/securely overwrite the whole HD the try a program called Dariks Boot and Nuke.

http://www.dban.org/

The Center for Magnetic Recording Research at UC San Diego used to have a utility that the NSA approved of and is compliant with thier standars. Or it was compliant in 2009 while to project was still going. They lost funding so stopped updating the utility but you can still get it off thier site.

http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml

Both of these options should easily meet your needs. Secure Erase will do the job a little faster though, but will need a litle bit of user interaction. DBAN is open source and is getting updated and should be alittle easier to use.

Magic of tennis
10-27-2011, 11:57 AM
[QUOTE=Fearsome Forehand;6084003]You never know who will end up with your old PC. If someone who knows what they are doing gets it, the files you thought you deleted are suddenly recoverable. There is no substitute for removing the hard drive and taking a hammer to it. That is the most secure method.

QUOTE]

lol That's very true.

Photoshop
10-27-2011, 12:19 PM
DBAN is very effective. You could also use CCleaner (http://www.piriform.com/CCLEANER). It's got a function that can overwrite the empty space of the harddrive up to 32 times (making sure your deleted files won't be restored)

BobFL
10-27-2011, 12:48 PM
Low level format should do it but if you are really paranoid find your nearest welder :)

bad_call
10-27-2011, 05:20 PM
Low level format should do it but if you are really paranoid find your nearest welder :)

how bout the shooting range? sounds a bit more fun...

BobFL
10-27-2011, 06:15 PM
how bout the shooting range? sounds a bit more fun...

Hahahahha, yet another great idea from my neighbour :) Personally, I would go with .22 just to make it more fun ;)

Bud
10-28-2011, 02:22 AM
Low level format should do it but if you are really paranoid find your nearest welder :)

Hahahahha, yet another great idea from my neighbour :) Personally, I would go with .22 just to make it more fun ;)

Does the format command (remove quick format option) in windows perform a low-level format on the HD? I reformatted a few large external HD's and it took a couple hours to perform from beginning to end.

Fearsome Forehand
10-28-2011, 06:41 AM
Formatting does not prevent data recovery. Formatting erases but does not necessarily overwrite all data. To wipe a drive, you need a program that erases all data and then overwrites it, preferably many times.

Or, just yank the drive out, aim a hammer at it and practice your overhead smash until all plates are bent/broken. Then throw whatever is left in the fireplace. :)

BobFL
10-28-2011, 09:08 AM
Does the format command (remove quick format option) in windows perform a low-level format on the HD? I reformatted a few large external HD's and it took a couple hours to perform from beginning to end.

Nope.

10hdd

sureshs
10-28-2011, 09:18 AM
Does the format command (remove quick format option) in windows perform a low-level format on the HD? I reformatted a few large external HD's and it took a couple hours to perform from beginning to end.

That is what many people used to believe, but it is not true.

Bud
10-28-2011, 09:34 AM
Nope.

10hdd

That is what many people used to believe, but it is not true.

Formatting does not prevent data recovery. Formatting erases but does not necessarily overwrite all data. To wipe a drive, you need a program that erases all data and then overwrites it, preferably many times.

Or, just yank the drive out, aim a hammer at it and practice your overhead smash until all plates are bent/broken. Then throw whatever is left in the fireplace. :)

Then I'll use a program like Ccleaner that overwrites every sector multiple times (it just takes forever for a moderately large HD).

I assumed the low level format would do the trick since it took so long to complete. I thought perhaps it was performing multiple data overwrites and then resetting all the file pointers / tables.

I have 10 or so external and old HD's (from past external drives, desktops and laptops) that I just consolidated onto a 3TB HD. I was going to sell them on fleabay after performing low-level formatting but will now reconsider.

Leelord337
10-28-2011, 10:49 AM
just boot from a windows cd and erase the partitions, and clean install. simple as that

Keifers
10-28-2011, 04:36 PM
Thanks, all, for the tips. (I meant to reply earlier but this week has been hella busy.)

Formatting does not prevent data recovery. Formatting erases but does not necessarily overwrite all data. To wipe a drive, you need a program that erases all data and then overwrites it, preferably many times.

...
Just to clarify, the overwriting will affect only the user areas of the disk -- not the areas used by the operating system, etc.?

What about user-installed program files? Should I uninstall them?

JoelDali
10-28-2011, 05:52 PM
Download Hirens Boot CD image.

http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

Burn it to disk.

Boot from it.

Load DataShredder and let it do its thing on C.

Next, run DiskWipe, and let it do its thing on C.

Done.

Not even DriveSavers.com could get data off of it.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CBIQTQC9ZQ8/S8zAxZ5-DtI/AAAAAAAABrw/hqQil7c_R9c/s1600/BaldEagleShooting1.jpg

esgee48
10-28-2011, 06:02 PM
Free software that does all of the above at www.fileshredder.org (http://www.fileshredder.org). Removes files, directories, entire disk to DOD and above standards. Max rewrites is 35 times which take a long time, but the data, etc is entirely gone, not recoverable. Low level formats redo the NTFS/MFS file directory tables, but the data is still there.

mikeler
10-28-2011, 06:04 PM
Poor Rogi Boy...