Verify Data Erasure?

Posted on 2004-10-22
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Here is the general situation.  

My organization has a number of data tapes (backup tapes) that we need to dispose of.  We have purchased a media degausser and are in the process of degaussing all of the tapes.  

My question is this.  Is there a method/utility/suite that can verify that the data has been erased fully?  In other words is there a utility that can read raw data off the tapes and reassemble the data into files?  That way if any files were shown it could be concluded that the data is not fully erased.

Thanks all.

Question by:ShadowedOne
    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    I'm not positive it will work with a Tape drive, but if it does...
    Download the demo of Ontrack's EasyRecovery. The demo lets you scan for files to recover.

    If it can find anything, your erasing was unsucessful =)
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    A hammer and a bucket of acetone should ensure the data is not recoverable.


    Author Comment

    Didn't really get what I needed, but thank you to both of you for the help.  BTW I was thinking a wood chipper might be less hazardous than the bucket of acetone. :)

    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for the points, now I'll actually try to do something to earn them...

    If your goal is to erase the tape but not destroy it, and you want to be sure the data can't be recovered, a good way would be to send the erased tape to a data recovery service who specialize in retrieving data from tapes, such as
    and see if they can recover anything from it. These services are usually pretty expensive, but if the data is potentially attractive to snoopers, and the possible liability is high, it might be worth the cost.

    If you just want to destroy the tapes, incineration is probably the cheapest method, and is guaranteed unrecoverable.

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