How do I completly remove data??

Associate
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I have some old hard drives which I am intending on selling on ebay. However I want to make sure that all of the data has been removed before posting them off to safeguard aggainst identity theft.

I know that by doing a format the data can still be accessed using specialist hard drive software. Apparently you have to write over the data many times to fully "destroy" it. How can I go about doing this? Are there any programs which you guys have used?

Any help is very much appreciated.
 
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If you get a program like PartionMagic or something similar, you can "Format and Destroy" the data, which basically writes ZEROS to the entire hard drive, it then formats it as normal.

So if the new user did recover any data, all they'd get is ZEROs.
 
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Writing all zero's can still be recovered....

I haven't personally used this utility but I have heard good things about it...

Dariks Boot and Nuke

It allows you to boot from floppy or CD and nuke a disk specifying the number of passes you want to use, more passes = less risk but as with everything in computing if its worth stealing someone can steal it...

It all boils down to the value of the data on the disk, if you kept meticulous bank records on there in the clear (shame on you, use TrueCrypt! :D ) then I'd probably use the above utility and give it at least 5 passes to make sure. The old DoD 5220-M standard specified a minimum of 7 passes to purge sensitive data so that gives you an indication of how the US military liked to cleanse its disks =]

If its just your games and some dodgy holiday snaps... well there's probably some other tools out there which will do a simple pass for you.
 
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Yea, there are a number of tools that does multiple passes and added fancyness. I remember using one, forgot what it's called (I think it includes the word "Shredder") and using the most secure mode took several hours to delete 4-5GB :eek:

Can't imagine wiping a modern 500GB or larger HD at that pace (yes HD are getting faster, but it was not that long ago).
 
Man of Honour
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Active ZDelete for the win

Can specifiy as many passes as you want, its an awesome program, free for a 30 day trial too
 
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What is Eraser?

Eraser is an advanced security tool (for Windows), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. Works with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and DOS.
Eraser is Free software and its source code is released under GNU General Public License.

http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/
 
Associate
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Eraser is pretty good, I have used that before now and I do believe it incorporated the US Government DoD standard so it should be okay for day to day use.

Btw, 35 passes is a tad extreme =]... Anything over 7 would require specialist equipment to recover which would involve investigating the magnetic properties of the disc to discover the faint traces left over which build up in layers.. I highly doubt anyone buying a drive off ebay would go that far, generally someone may try some opensource tools looking for non deleted sections nothing more.
 
Soldato
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Only way to be sure is to use this:

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But you want to sell them so in that case a couple of passes with Boot and Nuke will do it.
 
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Even the above isn't surefire :D

There's a company down south in the UK who will painstakingly rebuild CD/DVD's/HDD Platters etc from fragments to try and get data back... I'll see if I can find a link...

The best way to completely dispose of HDD's is to take it to a specialist firm and get them to turn it into a paperweight for you, at least that way you get a souvenir too :D
 
Soldato
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A Verity Hard Disk Degausser takes around 20 seconds to completely destroy data on a hard drive.
 
Associate
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Yup just dont go near em with your credit cards :D

Degaussing machines which meet either of the SEAP 8500 Cabinet Office (Type II is the most secure) standards will completely erase everything on a drive, they are so good even tunnelling electron microscopes can't be used to retrieve the data!

This will also destroy the electronic components which drive the HDD so without some serious manufacturer rework you just made HDD shaped paperweight.

Just a note of caution regarding any physical destruction methods, don't do it yourself, there's bits to fly off everywhere in those things and I'm sure we don't want to hear stories of OcUK'ers down the local casualty having drive platter pieces removed from various bodily regions!!
 
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