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Best/Cheapest Way to Erase Hard Drives

Posted on 2008-10-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have about ten hard drives that I need to wipe and they are in about five servers. I don't want to power on all of the servers and use software because that will take days. I heard that you can use electric magnets to erase all of the data but i'm worried  that it will cost too much. What's the fastest and cheapest way of doing this?

Thanks!!! :)
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Question by:eshiram
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by:TCB1
ID: 22687605
Will these hard drives still be used? Or are you disposing of them and need to wipe them for security reasons?
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by:eshiram
ID: 22687820
They are still going to be used. They are being sold to a liquidator.
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by:gzarnick
ID: 22687968
I would use XP Disk Manager if you could:

You can navigate to there from the control panel,
Performance and Maintenance, Admin Tools or
Click Start, click Run, type compmgmt.msc, and then click OK.


Or you can right-click on the Drive and press "Quick Format"
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by:gzarnick
ID: 22687969
I use AEFDISK on a bootable CD which lets me delete all partitions from a fast booting comand prompt. AEFDISK.com
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by:eshiram
ID: 22688248
I would like to remove the data without powering on the servers.
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by:Mark
ID: 22688351
The term used for magnetically erasing a hard drive is "Degaussing"
Here is a service that provides degaussing for hard drives.  http://www.garner-products.com/Degserv.htm

I would use Dariks boot and nuke first before sending them anywhere,  especially if they have sensitive data on them, but that would take time.
 http://www.dban.org/
IMHO it would be cheaper and faster to buy new drives and take a sledge hammer to the old ones.
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by:Mark
ID: 22688361
Without turning them on?? You'll at least have to remove them from the server if that's the case.
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TCB1 earned 501 total points
ID: 22688373
First of all, the cheapest way to do what you need is to use software to wipe the disk. Second, if you want the drives in a usable state after the wipe, software is the only method to use. Here's a link to a demagnetizer. Note the number 10 at the bottom--# Remark: media except for the hard disk are reusable after demagnetization

http://www.x-magnet.net/Machinery/PCT-220D-Demagnetizer.html
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by:aleghart
aleghart earned 498 total points
ID: 22689296
>What's the fastest and cheapest way of doing this?

Fastest: degauss, but it destroys the drive.  If you buy out the service, you are also paying for shipping and return (or certificate of destruction).

Cheapest: software.  Require time and some electricity.  But, the drives are re-usable (salable).

Because you have the caveat that the unit are slated for sale, there is no answer for both Fast and Cheap.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 501 total points
ID: 22689587
A few comments ...

=>  First, I assume when you say "...  I need to wipe ..." the disks, you mean you want the data to be totally destroyed and unrecoverable.   The following comments are based on that assumption.

=>  Do NOT use Disk Manager with a Quick Format as suggested above --- that does NOT destroy any of the data; which would be easily recoverable  (even a full format would not wipe the data).

=>  The same thing is true with AEFDisk, which does not wipe the data -- just the partitioning information.   The data is still easily recoverable by any reasonably competent "techie".

r.e. "... I would like to remove the data without powering on the servers ..."  ==>  Not possible unless you remove the hard drive from the server and either use an external degausser (expensive) or attach the drive to another system.

=>  The cheapest way to do what you want is to use DBAN (as suggested above by sparkmaker).   To do this, you'll need to attach each drive to another system; then boot to DBAN and let it wipe the drive.   This will take some time (depending on just how thoroughly you set the wiping parameters) ... but the data will NOT be recoverable when it's done.   It requires an available system to do the wiping, but other than that it's free ... so it certainly meets your "cheapest" criteria :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 22689662
... One caveat about DBAN => it does not work with external (USB) drives; so you'll need to attach the drives to an internal controller on the system you're using to do the wiping.    There are commercial products that will wipe USB drives if you'd prefer to simply attach the drives via a USB adapter => for example the $99.95 "Pro" version of WipeDrive will wipe up to 50 drives:  http://www.whitecanyon.com/wipedrive-erase-hard-drive.php?gclid=CM3ovdOrnZYCFRJuxwodBWeLoA
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