HDD Data security when returning drive?

By bman2005
May 28, 2009
  1. I have replaced my OS drive as my primary failed on me a couple of weeks ago. See thread below:

    To no avail, no low level work was able to recover this drive or the data on it. Not really a big deal. However, I am sending this drive back to WD under warranty and I am a little concerned about private data will be retrieved in some fashion when back at the warehouse.

    I have tried to format, remove the partition...anything but every option fails with a error message similar to "This drive have malfunctioned and format could not be completed"...

    Should I be concerned about sending this drive back with data on the platters? Is there anything mechanical I can do to drop the data or should I not even worry about it?

  2. mrturtle

    mrturtle TS Rookie Posts: 43

    They should have certain procedures set out for how they handle customer data. But that is no guarantee that it will be safe once it has left your hands whether it's actually at Western Digital or if something happens to it during transit.

    If you are really that worried about personal data then may I suggest a sledgehammer and a can of petrol, then possibly some thermite, followed by more lots more petrol and finished by more heavy blunt objects?

    Who said paranoid wasn't a good state of mind?
  3. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    All this is strictly my own opinion... nothing more... maybe not even worth $.02...

    I assume you are not working in national security, else you would not be even asking the question.

    Dare we assume that it is only your own personal information that may be at risk,
    or is it possible your drive contains the personal information of others?

    If others are involved, then do not rma but destroy the drive.
    Probably the only "responsible" answer if you are responsible for others...

    If your information only is at stake, then you have 3 choices... based upon your degree of paranoia...
    1. Destroy the drive as above. (The irrationally paranoid answer - and most secure)
    2. Change all login names and passwords, etc... (Reasonably safe for most of the reasonably paranoid) ... Then RMA the drive.
    3. Don't sweat it. (Who would really want to try to dig/sift through a hard drive to find what few clues it might contain about YOUR personal life? or banking or ....? Even if they had the expertise to do it, and the tools to do it off site, would they even be able to get your drive off site to do it? Could they do it on company time? Of course, if it did happen and you had hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake....)

    Mr Turtle... I like the way you think.:haha:
  4. bman2005

    bman2005 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Ha - you guys are pretty funny. I am opting for option #3.... not going to worry about it. Its likely much easier to get my personal data in other ways. Besides, with this down economy, if they want the remaining $8.23 cents left in my RothIRA - they can have it.

    No others data, just general personal data. No one is going to take the even bother.

    WD website say that all drive data is destroyed when the drive is returned. Ok, if you say so!


    PS - Just because you're paranoid... doesn't mean they're not after you!
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