Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How To Wipe Your Hard Drive
Future Intelligence ^ | August 10th, 2006 | Peter Warren

Posted on 09/03/2006 8:58:26 PM PDT by canuck_conservative

Erasing data from a computer is not as simple as the manufacturers would have you believe. Just deleting it or reformatting the hard drive does not remove the data, and the secure removal of data about individuals by companies is now a legal requirement.

There are a number of methods used to "delete" data from a hard drive. These methods do not remove the data, they simply make space available for the system to use when next required. The data remains on the disk. Readily available software tools can be used to restore the data. Some are even free.

When data is deleted, all that actually happens is that the computer marks the space as available for reuse - it does not remove the data. The only way to remove it is to overwrite it. But failing to delete data may result in identity theft, financial loss, fraud or blackmail. Such concerns have prompted Microsoft to add a drive encryption feature called BitLocker into its new Windows Vista system to protect data on a PC.

According to Nick Coleman, chief executive of the Institute of Computer Security Professionals, the Glamorgan research highlights a glaring problem for the computer industry. "This is about how you manage data to the end of its life and what is best practice. People are used to buying shredders to get rid of paper information; now they need to be pointed in the direction of properly accredited people who they know are competent to destroy the data for them."

There are disk wiping utilities and programs available that will erase data if correctly used. Some programs erase the entire disk, while others allow you to select which files or folders to erase. It is important that the utility or program provide an option to erase free space.

Life Cycle Services has a list of data removal programs and instructions at:

www.howtowipeyourdrive.com


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: computersecurity; harddrive; hd; identitytheft
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-94 next last
Some useful advice for anyone thinking of passing on or selling their old computer.
1 posted on 09/03/2006 8:58:27 PM PDT by canuck_conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

any computer Im thinking of passing on gets the hard drive magnetized and smashed to bits.


2 posted on 09/03/2006 9:00:24 PM PDT by Hammerhead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

3 posted on 09/03/2006 9:04:14 PM PDT by Names Ash Housewares
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
Here's how I do it.


4 posted on 09/03/2006 9:04:22 PM PDT by perfect stranger (Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass). "Getting bombed has always struck me as the better option.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

Well, that's a nice advertisement.

http://www.killdisk.com/

free utility.


5 posted on 09/03/2006 9:04:46 PM PDT by stinkerpot65
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

Free program by one of the experts -

http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/SDelete.html


6 posted on 09/03/2006 9:06:06 PM PDT by RS ("I took the drugs because I liked them and I found excuses to take them, so I'm not weaseling.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

Wiping a 250 GB hard drive takes a long time -- multiple hours


7 posted on 09/03/2006 9:06:54 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Creating the <a href="http://clinton.senate.gov">straddle</a> Google bomb one post at a time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

Anyone heard of BlastFurnace 1.0?

8 posted on 09/03/2006 9:08:18 PM PDT by LibWhacker (There are no such things as moderate muslims, only jihadis in a larval stage.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hammerhead

And more effective than alot of the programs. Unless a program says it erases a HD to Mil-Spec I wouldn't trust it.


9 posted on 09/03/2006 9:08:23 PM PDT by Justa (Politically Correct is morally wrong.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
I'm partial to Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Plus it's free:
http://dban.sourceforge.net/
10 posted on 09/03/2006 9:09:40 PM PDT by clueless idiot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

Cyberscrub professional up to 35 pass sanitizer Gutmann.


11 posted on 09/03/2006 9:12:49 PM PDT by Total Package (TOLEDO, OHIO THE BLUE PIMPLE IN A SEA OF RED!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

techno-self ping


12 posted on 09/03/2006 9:13:05 PM PDT by Christian4Bush ("Ma'am, you don't have to thank us. You just go beat him for us." Soldier to Irey re: Murtha)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
Lay a strong magnet on your hard drive to wipe it and reformat after deleting partitions with an XP or a 2000 Installation Windows disk.

You can also remove the hard drive and have those you give the gift to go to Frys and spend $20 for another hard drive on sale.
13 posted on 09/03/2006 9:15:05 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A CA Guy

F-Disk and Reformat works for me- can they get it back after that?


14 posted on 09/03/2006 9:17:48 PM PDT by 1FreeAmerican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
Some useful advice for anyone thinking of passing on or selling their old computer.

Indeed.

www.simson.net/clips/2003/2003.CSO.04.Hard_disk_risk.htm

15 posted on 09/03/2006 9:17:58 PM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
This is like such old news, I can hardly believe it's being posted AGAIN in 2006.
16 posted on 09/03/2006 9:20:15 PM PDT by Jorge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

I like heat, and now days the platters are made of aluminum rather than glass. Aluminum melts at 1100, and becomes like plastic at 800 /aprox>


17 posted on 09/03/2006 9:20:33 PM PDT by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1FreeAmerican
Use the 2000 or XP disk to wipe the partitions. Create a new single C: drive partition and do a full format and you are good.

I'm not sure there is a short cut that works better than that.
18 posted on 09/03/2006 9:20:44 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: AZLiberty

It would only take about 1 hour to overwrite everything with pictures of Pee Wee Herman. Make the damn interlopers think they scored paydirt, so they have to sit through an 8 hr slide show of Pee Wee's best.


19 posted on 09/03/2006 9:22:17 PM PDT by kylaka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

ping for later


20 posted on 09/03/2006 9:22:46 PM PDT by Shethink13
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
Quick and simple.


21 posted on 09/03/2006 9:23:31 PM PDT by Bullish ( The pig headed monkeys of Islam can kiss my grits!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1FreeAmerican



No, just be sure and "delete" your information before you format and it is gone for ever.......not.

I like pgp's wipe program, up to 33 passes, on a multigig HD though, I feel for ya!


22 posted on 09/03/2006 9:24:30 PM PDT by p[adre29 (Arma in armatos)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: 1FreeAmerican

Quick formatting and repartitioning simply gets rid of the areas of the drive which describe how the data is stored, not the data itself. There are utilities that can scan through the drive and recover things that are not in the file table. If you do a full format (not a quick format), then yes, the average person will not be able to get the data back because it should all have been set to 0s. The government can still get data off of it, because there is still some residual magnetic signal left from the previous write, and if you know that every byte has been overwritten with a 0, and if you have the facilities, you can recover the data. If you really need to hide something from big brother, you overwrite the drive with random bits.


23 posted on 09/03/2006 9:24:52 PM PDT by psychoknk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: A CA Guy

I routinely recover data from reformatted hard dives. In fact, in most cases, it's actually easier to recover the data if you DO format it.


24 posted on 09/03/2006 9:25:20 PM PDT by kylaka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: kylaka
After the partition is removed, replaced with a new one and deep formatted... you still recover lots of stuff?
25 posted on 09/03/2006 9:27:02 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
I have PGP on my machine. The free version puts a cute shredder icon on the desktop, which invokes the wipe utility on any files dropped on it. The wipe function can be configured to make from one to 28 passes. One is good enough. 28 is for the truly paranoid.

The package also includes a free space wiping utility. It's best done while you sleep — it takes hours on a big disk.

26 posted on 09/03/2006 9:30:09 PM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A CA Guy

Every byte, excluding SOME damaged sectors, which is usually a very small amount of data. Ouick format, full format, low level format, makes no difference. I even recover data from drives with bad drive motors and fried circuts IF someone is willing to pay for it.


27 posted on 09/03/2006 9:33:06 PM PDT by kylaka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: RunningWolf

Dumb question here:

Can a hard drive, be truly destroyed by an hour or so, in a medium size campfire?


28 posted on 09/03/2006 9:33:21 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

lolz


29 posted on 09/03/2006 9:35:41 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
One of the joys of living in the country is burning brush every few months. Whenever I retire a PC, I pull the hard drive. Then, the next time I burn brush, I toss all my retired hard drives in (along with any paper files I want to dispose of).

I am absolutely confident that no one will ever retrieve data off of any of the small slags of melted aluminum I pull out of the ashes the next day.

30 posted on 09/03/2006 9:37:53 PM PDT by kennedy ("Why would I listpen to losers?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
I forget which version of AOL but it would rendered your hard drive useless.
31 posted on 09/03/2006 9:39:40 PM PDT by ThomasThomas (I did use spell check!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cringing Negativism Network

Usually, yes. But you'd better take a good look to make sure the case is melted, at least partially, and the platters inside are no flatter than a potatoE chip. You'd do best to fish the drive out of the fire while hot, and drop it in a bucket of cold water to make sure the platters shatter.


32 posted on 09/03/2006 9:40:32 PM PDT by kylaka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

33 posted on 09/03/2006 9:42:00 PM PDT by Cobra64 (All we get are lame ideas from Republicans and lame criticism from dems about those lame ideas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Cringing Negativism Network

It costs about $9 for a #6 torx screwdriver, I believe that is the proper size, and you remove the HD and remove the screws and take the cover off and take out a half a dozen other screws and you can then remove the platters. Once you remove the platters, they are quite easy to melt down if they are metal, if they are ceramic, they can be pounded to powder in short order. Only when they are physically destroyed by grinding, melting, or total destruction are they safe from being recovered.


34 posted on 09/03/2006 9:42:09 PM PDT by Concho (IRS--Americas real terrorist organization.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative
I was saving old hard disks and planning on erasing them all at once with a low yield nuclear warhead. Unfortunately all of my searching for uranium to make the warhead got the government's attention. Why didn't I have Joe Wilson investigate me?
35 posted on 09/03/2006 9:42:27 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (UN Security Council resolution 1701: I believe it is ceasefire for our time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: perfect stranger

36 posted on 09/03/2006 9:43:01 PM PDT by Cobra64 (All we get are lame ideas from Republicans and lame criticism from dems about those lame ideas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative

Back in about 1988, I got a call from my brother, who is a lawyer. He was meeting with a client who was leaving her job at an ad agency (or something) on less than favorable terms. She had a Mac that belonged to her employer and was worried they'd go over it and find stuff she'd deleted. So, what could I recommend?

At the time, I was into mainframes and Unix, and I had only a passing familiarity with Macs and PCs. I didn't know of any utilities, free or otherwise, and Google was still about a decade into the future.

So, I advised her to take an innocuous file and use the Finder's duplicate facility to duplicate it. Then duplicate the file and its copy. Then duplicate the resulting files. Until the drive fills up. Then delete the bunch and do it a gain a few times, each time starting with a file of a different size. I never did hear if they found anything.


37 posted on 09/03/2006 9:43:03 PM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kylaka

potatoE

-

ROFL!!

The water seems like a smart idea. For the campfire too. :)


38 posted on 09/03/2006 9:43:12 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: canuck_conservative; All
I'd like to know how to retrieve data from a hard drive that went south.
39 posted on 09/03/2006 9:44:27 PM PDT by Cobra64 (All we get are lame ideas from Republicans and lame criticism from dems about those lame ideas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kennedy
Whenever I retire a PC, I pull the hard drive. Then, the next time I burn brush,

When I lived in Fort Worth there was a company near my house that specialized in recovering data from hard drives burnt in building fires. Buildings burn hotter than brush.

40 posted on 09/03/2006 9:44:37 PM PDT by ThomasThomas (I did use spell check!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Cobra64
No, installing Windows won't erase the hard disk.

Usually when I need to get rid of them I've been burying hard disks in a shallow grave with a lot of lime. No, wait, that's not hard disks I'm getting rid of. Uh, never mind, forget I posted anything.

41 posted on 09/03/2006 9:49:14 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (UN Security Council resolution 1701: I believe it is ceasefire for our time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Cringing Negativism Network
Can a hard drive, be truly destroyed by an hour or so, in a medium size campfire?

Read about it here.

42 posted on 09/03/2006 9:49:39 PM PDT by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: kylaka

So a large magnet left on the drive for a while might be the best way to go shy of destroying the drive then?


43 posted on 09/03/2006 9:50:23 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: ThomasThomas
I have about 70 mature (30 to 100 year old) pecan trees. Every time we have a thunderstorm I end up dragging several good sized limbs to my burn pile. I pile brush and limbs for 3 to 6 months between burnings. By the time the fire burns down to ashes, the hard drives are reduced to small lumps of melted aluminum.

In most building fires, the PCs get damaged not by the fire but by the water putting out the fire.

44 posted on 09/03/2006 9:55:30 PM PDT by kennedy ("Why would I listpen to losers?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: A CA Guy
So a large magnet left on the drive for a while might be the best way to go shy of destroying the drive then?

I wouldn't bet on it. There's too much metal in the case to count on the magnetic field wiping out the bits on the platters. Physical destruction is the only way to be sure. The software suggested above to write multiple ones and zeros over your data is good enough unless the CIA thinks you are important enough to rewire your hard disk or look at the platters with an electron microscope.

45 posted on 09/03/2006 9:56:19 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (UN Security Council resolution 1701: I believe it is ceasefire for our time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: A CA Guy

Maybe. That's one I can't really answer. I don't know. But I'd be surprised if HD's are suceptable to any but the largest external magnetic sources.


46 posted on 09/03/2006 9:59:00 PM PDT by kylaka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Cringing Negativism Network
I don't know but I would think so. You don't have to completely obliterate it.

Think Aluminum, I am sure you have seen some big chunks of aluminum burn up in a campfire

It is all about the magnetic traces on the platters and most everyone thinks of it to that end as to wiping those away.

I think of it more as a media issue like magnetic tape or even a CD-Rom. If you get a cassette tape hot the media shrinks and distorts and whatever magnetic traces are on them go away too.

Actually though I have never went that far.

I break off all the random electrical components on the circuit board, and toss it in any garbage bag (after a 1 bit by bit wipe)
47 posted on 09/03/2006 9:59:08 PM PDT by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio

Well thanks for the information.


48 posted on 09/03/2006 9:59:30 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio

I don't care for myself, but know lots of doctors who have business computers and they are not allowed by law to share patient information.
So far I have all such friends destroy their hard drives since so much potential damage to patients could be had.


49 posted on 09/03/2006 10:01:03 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: A CA Guy

Well, I just toss mine in the recycle bin. I the CIA wants to go read a few new beer cans, let them.


50 posted on 09/03/2006 10:11:18 PM PDT by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-94 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson