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Looking for a device to format hard drives

Posted on 2011-03-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We are getting ready to remove a lot of old PC's from our companies network.  I was wondering if there was some sort of device we could buy and just put the HD's into it and have them get a good low level formatting.  It would certainly save a lot of time.  Any suggestions would be welcome.
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Question by:adml_shake
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14 Comments
 
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Randy Downs
Randy Downs earned 100 total points
ID: 35214890
The safest solution is to destroy the hard drives with a hammer. Low level format may have almost the same inpact though.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:pnorms
ID: 35214894
Not sure about your budget but have a look at this:
http://www.securityprousa.com/didewhbrda10.html
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

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hathehariken earned 100 total points
ID: 35215425
the first question would be, whether you want the disks to be usable after the low level format??

if no, then take a hammer and instruct a disgruntled employee to vent his frustration on the hapless hard drives :)

if yes, then you have to spend some unit of time behind each hard drive.

Active Killdisk is a very good option to zero fill HDDs
http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm

rig up a single PC, open bed, with just the bare essentials.
it should be no frills system. no operating system is necessary.
the system will boot from a bootable CD/DVD

just plug in a HDD to be deleted, boot up from the CD, let AKD zero fill the HDD, shut down, and remove the drive
rinse, lather, repeat.

just fyi, the device you are looking for, an automatic formatter - i dont think it has been invented yet....
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:adml_shake
ID: 35215534
Thanks, I was thinking along the same lines, but my worry about a live CD is that I would have to reboot the machine every time I wanted to do a new hard drive.  We have a large number of them to go through so I'm looking to simplify the process.
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Expert Comment

by:hathehariken
ID: 35215607
no go. if you want faster, have multiple PCs.

you can make nine ladies pregnant, but you cant have a baby in 1 month.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:adml_shake
ID: 35215696
Lol, good point.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Randy Downs
ID: 35216034
Just make a lot of copies of the Active Killdisk boot CD & run them all at once. Just realized my 1st pot had a link to another topic. I meant to post the Kill Disk option.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 35216058
Except for a low-end "paddle" type degausser (which requires you open the hard drives and physically remove the platters for it to work),  degaussers are fairly expensive, as they have to produce a very large magnetic field to erase the data on modern hard drive.

But they DO work very well --- fully erasing all traces of data in ~ 1 minute per drive.    Here are a few choices:  http://www.datadev.com/degausser-hard-drive-data-security-erase.html
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:hathehariken
ID: 35216642
garycase:
after the magnetic therapy, will the HDDs remain operational??
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 35216653
I burn copies of dban and run on the machine itself...less labor involved.  I also have a 4-port KVM, so can do 4 at a time while only using one monitor/keybd/mouse.  Also a good way to run installations in tandem.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:pnorms
ID: 35245531
Yeah i'm a big fan of killdisk just go ahead and get a kvm in place and roll the systems on through, or remove the drives if you like and pop them in an external dock (you can then keep the system up and running.)
http://www.killdisk.com/
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:adml_shake
ID: 35377986
Thanks for the advice.  We ended up going with a 4 bay USB/esata hard drive dock and an eraser program that can see all the HD's connected through the USB and other ports.  So far seems to be working pretty well.
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Expert Comment

by:hathehariken
ID: 35384546
we are glad we could help a little.

just for the record, can you tell us which software you finally selected?
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