Selling a Harddrive - How to make sure *everything* is gone.

By Coronas ยท 12 replies
Feb 19, 2007
  1. I'm selling two of external hard drives. How can I make sure all data is gone. Or what should I do so someone cant retrieve any of my "deleted" stuff.
  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    you need to use a wipe program. Spybot search and destroy has one buried in the tools section. I think crap cleaner has one also. Norton systemworks definately has it. (but it's not free)
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    There's KillDisk, but don't let the name fool you the hard drive still works once the program is done "killing" it. :p
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,475   +126

    Corp America Companies won't let anything leave unless it wiped 35 cycles. I can tell you that takes some time to do. Program they use is called Wipe It you comes in to formats FDD or CDD.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    Boy I wish this were true!
    SOME companies have policies to this effect, and if so they implement it internally.

    Security systems (DoD, FBI, NSA) typically DESTROY the device.

    Most companies/people just default for a two-three pass lowlevel format.

    The effort to recover anything gets expensive and takes time, so the
    buyer has to believe that there's something there worth the effort.
  7. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    1. there is no way to actually delete information from a hard drive, all you can do is write over it. when you delete a file, windows marks the space as "open" and eventually writes over it, however the information that was formerly occupying that space can still be recovered via special software.

    2. when you use a "wipe" or "zerowrite" program, it writes zeros over the entire drive. every time you do this it gets more and more difficult to recover the data that was previously there. after several "zerowrites", it should become impossible to recover the old data using commercially available software.

    3. the only true way to make sure all traces of data are gone is physically destroy the drive (however that might make it a bit more difficult to sell ;))

    4. after doing [2.] or [3.], the only ones who can recover any of your data at that point is the DoD, and unless you're doing some real shady things then you should have nothing to worry about ;)

    cheers :wave:
  8. ambivolent

    ambivolent TS Rookie Posts: 67

    the last place i worked for just took their HDD out in the parking lot and took the sledgehammer to it lol... i guess thats what happens when you get targeted by IRS for tax evasion
  9. marcuskarl73

    marcuskarl73 TS Rookie

    Webroot drive eraser is a nice program that will overwrite your disk up to seven time , making sure there is no way to recover any data
  10. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    How is data stored on the hard disk ?
    What redundancies/layers are there ?

    Why can't a single wipe or zero fill overwrite all the data ?
  11. marcuskarl73

    marcuskarl73 TS Rookie

    because programs like getdataback will still be able to recover data even after formating a harddrive and reinstalling another OS, the D.O.D. erase will overwrite your disk 7 times.
  12. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    ha! We've used a trusty Sledgehammer to "Wipe" old hard drives in the Army!
  13. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Or a single 9mm pistol ;)
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