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Disk shredder / hard drive wiper reccomendations?

Hi All,

I just sold a laptop, so before I ship it out I want to completely wipe the drive and restore it. What's your favorite (preferably free) disk shredder now-a-days?

In the past I used one that worked from a bootdisk and then wiped the drive clean, but I can't remember the name and looking through Google and Download.com nothing rings a bell.

Thanks,

  --Josh

JWA
Thursday, June 03, 2004


Here:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/wipe/

This is what we used when I was on a joint DoD/DoJ project for the wiping of all storage media before it was allowed to leave the facility.

It fulfilled all of DoD's, FBI's, and other participating organizations' requirements.


Thursday, June 03, 2004


I almost forgot.... we ran it five times over every piece of media.  It took forever for bigger drives (80-120's), but only a few hours for smaller drives.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

If you have windows, I use Eraser. 
http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/

It also includes the ability to create a "nuke" disk running EraseD. 

One of the things I like is you can schedule it to wipe your drive, just like a defrag.  Any deleted files are always kept wiped. 

MSHack
Thursday, June 03, 2004

DBAN

Mike
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Yes, ERASER is good (and free) but if you set it to write too many passes it can take forever to do a whole disk. Set it at 3 overwrites and it's doable.

old_timer
Thursday, June 03, 2004

SDelete from Sysinternals:

http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/source/sdelete.shtml

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Just curious  - what is the point of repeatedly writing to the same spot?  Doesn't the first write change the magnetic "image" on the hard drive making it impossible to read the previous contents. Or is there some kind of magnetic "residue" left over? Seems like overkill.

Curious George
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Or is there some kind of magnetic "residue" left over?

Yup.

Caffeinated
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Advanced forensic hardware recovery tools, may even restore overwritten files by analyzing latent magnetic traces."

from http://www.discountevidenceeliminator.com/file-deletion.htm

Caffeinated
Thursday, June 03, 2004

The theory that one can recover the original data when it has been overwritten has been strongly discredited. Even an attempt to recover data requires that the investigator have access to a magnetic force scanning tunneling microscope -- and nobody has actually proved it can be done even with access to this exotic equipment.

It's pointless doing more than one pass, unless you have secrets that the NSA would be willing to spend vast amounts of money and time on recovering that data (and assuming they have no other way to get the data). And if you do have such secrets to protect, you should be physically destroying and burning your used media (including HDs).

GUI Joe
Thursday, June 03, 2004

http://www.industrialtoolstore.com/c/Chainsaws/-154535.htm

Shreds hard disk, laptop, desk, and most of your floorboards too... swee-eet! ;)

has
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Thanks for the info, GUI Joe.  The whole "latent magnetic traces" theory has always seemed a bit tinfoil-hattish to me.

Does anyone know whether a full reformatting of a hard drive is sufficient to erase the data?  My understanding is that during a full reformat, the hard drive overwrites each sector with dummy data, and then reads that data back to ensure that the sector isn't corrupt.  In theory, it seems like this process should wipe any preexisting data on the drive.

(This is in contrast to a quick format, which just erases the directory structure and leaves the original data intact.)

Robert Jacobson
Thursday, June 03, 2004

If you're anywhere near a university just ask them to let you leave your HD near their electromagnet for a few minutes.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Thanks for the tips everybody. It was DBAN that I had used before. I have it running right now.

Thanks again,

  --Josh

JWA
Thursday, June 03, 2004

The problem is that if you want to be *really* *really* *really* sure that nobody can use your data later on, you really should destroy it.

Remember, your boogeyman of choice is going to spend a lot of time to recover relatively miniscule pieces of data, just in case they get a big payoff or two.  The NSA kept records of Russian transmissions that they couldn't crack, just in case they come up with a way later.  Stuff like that.

Don't try degausing or otherwise exposing a drive to magnetic fields to destroy the information.  You will also destroy the embedded servo information that will render the drive useless.

My personal preference for these sort of things is to dissassemble the disk, give it a nice blast with a blowtorch (always a great start for destroying things) followed by carefully sanding every trace of magnetic media off of the platters.

But, really, you just need to be on the happy side of the benefit of recovery vs. cost of recovery scale.  The afforementioned wiping utilities will make sure to actually wipe the drive and leave very little chance to recover data later on.  Formatting may not wipe everything off of the drive, because at various points, unformat information has been included and/or the format just wipes out the FAT tables.

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"And if you do have such secrets to protect, you should be physically destroying and burning your used media"

I once contracted with a government body that wouldn't allow *anything* out of the building intact. They even made use destroy the printers.

They'd Have To Shoot Me
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Comparison of different hard disk wipers. 

http://www.fortunecity.com/skyscraper/true/882/Comparison_Shredders.htm

Anon
Thursday, June 03, 2004

These "wipe" utility vendors propagate a false myth about DoD specs. Top Secret data need to be physically destroyed (Degausser or smash it to tiny bits);  a software  wipe/overwrite no matter how many passes are not sufficient.

The current U.S. DoD specs are at http://www.dss.mil/isec/chapter8.htm -- scroll down to "sanitation matrix."

Guy LeDouche
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Disintegrate, incinerate, pulverize, shred, or melt."

Shudder.

Alex
Friday, June 04, 2004

Here are some of my favourite ways to render hard drives unreadable:

- put them in the oven/bonfire until they explode
- flatten them in an industrial press
- melt them down in a vat

Matthew Lock
Friday, June 04, 2004

A steel mill I know of throws tapes into the molten steel when it's time to dispose of them.  I'd like to see someone recover *that* data.

anon
Friday, June 04, 2004

"Disintegrate, incinerate, pulverize, shred, or melt."

You just know there are GS-12 Government Destruction Technicians out there whose job is just to smash things with $1,800 Pentagon hammers, then they take 20-minute smoke breaks every 30 minutes where they probably bitch to each other about their 30 days vacation and 30 days sick leave and 25 year full retirement pensions.

Rob
Friday, June 04, 2004

check out this link
http://www.thestarman.narod.ru/asm/mbr/WIPE.html

nemyax
Monday, June 07, 2004

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