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How to wipe a dead hard drive

This is a discussion on How to wipe a dead hard drive within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Does anyone know of a utility that will allow me to wipe a nonfunctioning hard drive of all data? I'm


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Old 09-30-2004, 06:11 AM   #1
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Does anyone know of a utility that will allow me to wipe a nonfunctioning hard drive of all data? I'm looking for a tool to do this on all 'dead' drives before we dispose of them. I know they're 'dead' and should be able to just throw them away but there are tools out there that can recover data from 'dead' drives still and that's what we're trying to avoid. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 09-30-2004, 06:13 AM   #2
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You could just do what we do on all redundant drives and stick a screwdriver through them,
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Old 09-30-2004, 06:25 AM   #3
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Federal regulations demand that we wipe them because even if you take a hammer to the drive and put a screw driver through it, someone can still get data off it if they want to. I know that even if you write 0's and 1's to the drive 7-8 times, there's still the possibility that someone can get data off it but regulations require us to do atleast write 0's and 1's to each drive 5-6 times before we dispose of it or get rid of it. So this is all about meeting government regulations in our business.
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Old 09-30-2004, 10:36 AM   #4
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Here's the 100% foolproof solution:
Take the drive apart and remove the platters.... It's not that difficult, but you will need some small tools, like a small screwdriver, and/or a small torx driver. Then take 100 grit sandpaper and sand off the oxide coating until you have bare, shiny aluminum platters. Note that some of the new high-density coatings looks shiny, so be sure you get all of the coating off & get down to the bare metal.

Don't forget to recycle the aluminum !

I am familiar with your 'Federal Requirements', and this method satisfies the most extreme government security requirements.

regards
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Old 09-30-2004, 12:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semerich
Here's the 100% foolproof solution:
Take the drive apart and remove the platters.... Then take 100 grit sandpaper and sand off the oxide coating until you have bare, shiny aluminum platters.
I do believe that would do it.

Not as extreme or as much work. We used a very strong magnet.
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Old 09-30-2004, 12:14 PM   #6
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That or just bend the platters. The head hovers a hair's width over them, and I'm quite sure bending them to even the slightest angle would essentially make them impossible to straighten and therefore impossible to read again.
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Old 09-30-2004, 02:32 PM   #7
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Or you can do what I do! Take the platters to a machine shop and have them machined away in a lathe to chips. Take the chips to a metal surplus yard and they in turn will send them to Japan to be made into a Hyundai....
 
Old 09-30-2004, 03:46 PM   #8
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sweet, a Hyundai!
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Old 10-01-2004, 11:33 AM   #9
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I reclaim drives and memory from old computers at a salvage operation if they are large enough and work properly. I use Smith Micro's Checkit and a PC-on-a-board to verify that they work properly and a Linux program developed by Professor Josh Larios from Washington State University to wipe the drives clean. It is called "autoclave" and will wipe clean any IDE drive with a thoroughness that satifies the federal government. Go to Google and search on "autoclave" to find the site to download it. Professor Larios authorized me to use it this way as long as I did not hold him liable for any problems using it. I also located a program called "DBAN" (Darik's Boot and Nuke) that claims to wipe SCSI drives clean. Find it the same way. Then I use fdisk and format to prepare these drives for computers that are to be distributed to non-profits, orphanages and other deserving groups that cannot afford the newer stuff. At least I keep some things out of the land-fills.

This may work for any drives that still power up.
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Old 10-02-2004, 01:20 AM   #10
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If the drive is totally dead and won't spin up...no program can wipe that data on the platters. Most service centers for data recover...remove these platters and set them up on the testbed to recover. (Big $$$) If you can't go the route and and end result is to make this drive unrecoverable...remove the platters and destroy them.

The 'Screwdriver" method or drilling a hole can be defeated with a CAP and the drive may be recovered. I would put the platter in a vise and with a hammer bend it over then run a heavy magnet (20oz Car Speaker will do) over the surface. This will make all data unrecoverable.
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Old 10-03-2004, 09:29 PM   #11
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I usually do the same trick Microbell mentions... take a LARGE magnet, hold it to the drive and move it around a couple times. This makes sure that the platters are completely run through the magnetic fields from the magnet.
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