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how to erase data on a harddrive so it cannot be recovered

Posted on 2012-12-23
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Last Modified: 2013-01-24
Hi, I have several used hard drives that I am selling. I would like to "clean" the drive so the customer can not get the data through traditional data recovery methods / programs. Does anyone have any applications that they would suggest?
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Question by:hydrive1902
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LVL 6

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Darren Sharples earned 63 total points
ID: 38717091
ccleaner is free and has a drive wiper utility at 35 passes.  should be good enough
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:Perarduaadastra
Perarduaadastra earned 63 total points
ID: 38717095
A quick Google will turn up any number of programs that will do this, but keep in mind that the more thorough they are, the longer they take.

The maunfatcurers' own utilities will usually have a facility to overwrite every sector with zeros; do this a couple of times and it's going to take some pretty sophisticated techniques to recover anything meaningful. Your average villain isn't going to have the resources or the time for this kind of snooping.

If you're really worried that this might happen, don't sell the drives - break them to pieces. Drives aren't so expensive that you'd lose that much money...
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LVL 27

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by:davorin
davorin earned 63 total points
ID: 38717096
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LVL 27

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by:MacroShadow
MacroShadow earned 63 total points
ID: 38717116
My personal prefrence is Active Killdisk. It supports 17 security standards including DoD 5220.22-M.
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:shahzoor
shahzoor earned 62 total points
ID: 38717210
the best free for software i have ever used is
http://eraser.heidi.ie/
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:iconnectu
iconnectu earned 62 total points
ID: 38717295
I use Boot and Nuke: It is a free  too. Burn it to a CD and boot your computer with it. It has an Auto Nuke option with 3 passes or as an advanced user, you can choose from various options.
http://www.dban.org
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LVL 55

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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 62 total points
ID: 38717398
Bear in mind that all these programs will only overwrite accessible areas of the disk, spared out bad sectors may be still readable with sophisticated equipment.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:davorin
ID: 38717629
There still exists "hammer" method of erasing hard disks, but then I doubt you will be getting some buyers for them. ;)  As Perarduaadastra said...
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 62 total points
ID: 38717972
note that all erasing methods give a disk that is not readable for normal users and methods,- but given sophisticated time and materials, are still recoverable. (i know nobody that actually did it)
note also that all methods that write multiple passes to a disk, will take also MULTIPLE hours for each drive

up to you to decide what method you want
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Author Closing Comment

by:hydrive1902
ID: 38817384
thanks everyone!
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