Suggestions on How to Wipe a HD Clean

Posted on 2014-07-23
Last Modified: 2016-06-26

I have a 1.5TB Western Digital Black drive that developed some bad sectors after 18 months.  After using WD's diagnostic tools and chatting with their support, it was determined the best bet was to get a new drive under their warranty program.  WD shipped me a "re-certified" drive that arrived in just two days even though I was quoted 5-7 days (give them an A+ for service), and I have since copied all my files from the bad drive to this new drive.

Now I need to return the bad drive to avoid being charged for the replacement.  The drive was mostly used to store family photos and videos.  There is a slight chance that some sensitive info may also have been stored on it. For peace of mind, I want to wipe the drive before mailing it in.

After deleting all the files and emptying the bad HD's recycle bin (yes I know this does virtually nothing), I started using CCLeaner's Wipe Free space using the 3-pass option.  It appeared this was going to take 12+ hours, so I stopped that process and instead selected three large photos (mix of jpeg and TIFF files) that totaled 100 MB in size.  I started copying and pasting them on this drive.  So far, I have filled 282 GB out of 1,360 GB on this drive with these three photos.  My thinking is that this is a quicker way to at least start the wiping process.  I was going to fill the drive up completely with these three files.  

Is this sufficient?  I could ship the drive back to WD with it full of thousands of copies of these three photos.  I would prefer to do something more for peace of mind.  One idea is once the drive is full I use CCleaner or some other (preferably free or low cost solution) to further wipe the drive.  I own ShredXP which is outdated and does not like to run on my W7 PC. I could pull the drive out of my PC and put it in an older XP box and let ShredXP do it's magic (likely a 12+ hour task).  I could also use SpyBot S&D to securely wipe out the thousands of picture files I am duplicating.  I have read about Active KillDisk - would the free version that simply writes 0's on everything be OK or do I really need the Pro version?  

I realize it is pretty safe shipping to WD, I would just like to have a standard procedure to follow and not have to worry about anything.  

Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!
Question by:MrChip2
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Accepted Solution

CorinTack earned 250 total points
ID: 40215260
Where I work, we often use Dark's Boot and Nuke to wipe drives. (

It's a free program that will do a wipe with multiple passes. The wipe can take a long time (12+ hours) if your drive is large and slow, but it usually takes 2-3 hours for most drives.

Assisted Solution

by:Trenton Knew
Trenton Knew earned 250 total points
ID: 40215272
yep, boot with DBAN ↑
You should be fine with just writing single pass all zeros though.  I have heard that this makes data unrecoverable.  multipass a little overboard.

Author Comment

ID: 40215309
Thank you both for your comments. Should I go ahead and stop my picture duplication process and simply use DBAN?

Expert Comment

by:Trenton Knew
ID: 40215315
this is the tool's sole purpose in life.  permanently eradicate data on a HDD

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40215316
I love EE - quick and easy to follow answers!

Author Comment

ID: 40215322
One question - the bad drive is one of 6 different HD's in my main PC.  It looks like DBAN erases all detected drives.  For safety, should I move the drive to an older unused PC?  I would hate to have all my drives wiped!

Expert Comment

by:Trenton Knew
ID: 40215565
either that, or just disconnect any other drives prior to boot.  then reattach after you're finished.
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