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Wiping hard drive

Discussion in 'Community Broadband & Computers' started by section84, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. section84

    section84 New Member

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    I have two old PCs that I plan to recycle. I would like to remove the personal data from them before I do so. One is a very old PC that runs Windows98, and I can't find any software that will run on the PC that will wipe the drive. The second PC is newer, but it won't boot in Windows. I suspect the mother board has died for the fourth time.

    I checked around, and the only place I could find that will wipe the hard drives is Geek Squad, and they want $69 per machine.

    Does anyone know where else I could have the drives wiped?
     
  2. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    A large hammer :)
     
  3. brim

    brim Member

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    Go to a radio station and ask to use their bulk cart eraser.
     
  4. section84

    section84 New Member

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    I actually thought about that solution. It's not very elegant, but it would work! One of my co-workers suggested removing the hard drive and disposing of it separately in the regular trash. But I don't think it's really legal. And trash service is a different thread ....
     
  5. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    flynnibus and Brim are not that far off. Physically destroying the drive may be your only option as the applications and/or hardware to do so is fairly expensive. A STRONG (very strong) magnet would also do the trick but access is the issue. If you have a good metal drill bit, drill a few holes into the drive through the platters. That should do the trick.
     
  6. amye

    amye New Member

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    DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) http://dban.sourceforge.net/

    You can download a CD or floppy version -- just follow the prompts. I use this frequently for wiping hard drives.

    "DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction."
     
  7. brim

    brim Member

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    That's what I do. I take the housing off, remove the platters an drill 1/2" holes all over them then break the platter along the thin points caused by the drilling.

    Or you could get this:

    http://www.datalinksales.com/degaussers/hd1.htm
     
  8. section84

    section84 New Member

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    I actually tried this software on the Win98 PC. I couldn't get it to work, and once I "used" it, the CD drive no longer functioned (it keeps opening). It seems to have done more harm than good.
     
  9. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Pneumatic nailer! Quick, easy and fun.
     
  10. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Bulk eraser may seem easy, but it does not guarantee that you've gotten everything off of it. At a minimum it will mess the files up enough where it can't be booted, but data may still be on the drive.
     
  11. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    I think for the average person just trying to make sure personal data is not retrieved, even somewhat destroying the drive is sufficient. Your average crook looking to get this data would not have the skills or tools to recover any data.

    Now, if the person is looking to keep the data from a law-enforcement agency, that is different! :D
     
  12. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Depends on where you live on the "paranoia curve".
     
  13. section84

    section84 New Member

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    I'm just trying to avoid identity theft. I think I'll go the physical destruction route. It's the safest, cheapest, and sufficient for my needs. Thanks!
     
  14. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    I keep a copy of MS-DOS 6.22 available for just this type of thing. Of course, you need a computer with a floppy drive, but once you boot to DOS, a FORMAT C: usually does the trick.

    Then I remove the drive, and beat it with a hammer ;)
     
  15. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    I'll 2nd that; there's nothing more satisfying than beating a HD with the biggest hammer (or sledgehammer, hint, hint) you have in the garage. Put on a pair of jeans, some eye protection and go for it!

    If you're more of the 'discreet' type, spend a few minutes and 'open' the HD by removing all the screws... It's kinda educational if you get the kids involved. When you're done, go BONKERS with the platters...

    :D
     
  16. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Even reformatted disks can have data artifacts left on them.

    Little story.

    Sandia Labs asked for help in destroying hard drives, correction destroying data on hard drives. Impetus for the exercise was the downed P3 in China. That plane went down with a lot of "intacted" data. The goal was to find the best way to destroy a large amount of data residing on hard drives as quickly as possible. Burn bags don't work at 30,000 feet.

    Sandia Labs tried multiple ways to destroy the data and sent the drives out to see if professional commercially available data recovery techniques could get the data back. Over and over the data was recovered. The last drive arrived with epoxy injected into it. The next day data was returned that was left on the "epoxyed" drive.

    Solution...pneumatic nailer or total encryption. As I mentioned it all depends on how paranoid you are or how much someone wants to spend to get residual data back.
     
  17. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    Wow ... even using the DoD 'secure erase' program ?? I had a copy, just threw it out during our 'move' cleanout, on 5 1/4" floppy disk. Program would overwrite each single bit on the disk with a 0, then go back and redo it with a 1, and repeat this 20 times.

    On the old "large" disks of 10 MB, (1980s) it took over 2 hours. I'd hate to think what it takes with today's 120GB disks.
     
  18. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Try running that program, or something similiar, at 30,000 feet, in a steep drive, on multiple computers. There was a reason they didn't open the doors for a while. It still wasn't enough time.

     
  19. Pats_fan

    Pats_fan Former Resident

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    True, but as I recall, the overall assessment was that the crew of that aircraft did a great job of implementing their destruction protocols.

    I'm sure the Navy/DoD didn't disclose all of the details, but from what they said publicly the loss of classified material was not nearly as bad as it could have been.
     
  20. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    Reformatting will pretty much only format the boot sector leaving all that other data nicely intact.

    I am fairly certain that the DoD Secure Erase utility only wiped out the boot sector too. The tools for recovering data were not as robust back in the days when Secure Erase was popular.
     

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