Recommend a super fast disk wipe utility?

We clone disks (S-ATA) here very frequently.

Sometimes the disk clone process will just crap out at only 2 per cent.

In which case, the DESTINATION HDD will probably already have had a new
boot sector written to it.

In order for me to label the disk as "blank" again - I would have to write zeros to it - which usually takes a couple of hours to complete.

Given that only a tiny amount of data has been written to it - is there any quicker way to "blank" a disk?
Who is Participating?

Improve company productivity with a Business Account.Sign Up

Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
Run Western Digital's free Data Lifeguard.    It has a "Write Zeroes" function ... and when you run it you get a choice of "Quick" or "Full".   Just choose the Quick option ... it only writes the key areas with zeroes, which is all you need to make it be seen as a new, un-initialized disk.    Takes well under a minute.
andreasSystem AdminCommented:
boot a linux live CD and use dd_rescue to the disk

e.g. dd_rescue /dev/zero /dev/disktonull

wait a few seconds and the ncancel with ctrl+c

then run  

dd_rescue -r /dev/zero /dev/disktonull

to overwrit the end f the disk for a few seconds

then ctrl+c again.

So you can overwrite the first and last few MB of a HDD thus marking it new for all OSes and RAID controllers.

you should use this on a non raid controller to be able to have access to ALL the blocks on the device. Some RAID-controllers hide some sectors from the OS to store its own management information there.
If you are using a *nix box, no need for dd_rescue.    Just use the native dd program.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=4
Above will write zeros to the 1st 4 MB of the disk at /dev/sda  (obviously choose the right disk).  This will run in 2 seconds, tops.
Easily Design & Build Your Next Website

Squarespace’s all-in-one platform gives you everything you need to express yourself creatively online, whether it is with a domain, website, or online store. Get started with your free trial today, and when ready, take 10% off your first purchase with offer code 'EXPERTS'.

andreasSystem AdminCommented:
Correct but with dd its a pain to delete the last few sectors of a HDD wich is sometimes necessary to mark the disk new for RAID controllers and to get rid of the secondary GPT-entries. They are located at the end of the disk in blocks maxLBA-33 to maxLBA-1.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Take a look at Kill Disk. I used this a long time ago, but no need recently.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Considering that data on the disk has been written in first 20xxxxx sectors you need to run the wipe in specific amount of time only. Lets say wipe drive in 15 minutes and it will do in this time 20% which must remove the whole boot information.
Here you can stop the wipe and them manually clean the last sector (save empty sector 0 and restore it at the end of the drive).
For this you can use any disk wiping tool such as DBan or KillDisk or Paragon Disk Wiper etc.
furunoAuthor Commented:
Ok thanks for suggestions so far.

Is there any utility which can wipe boot sector ( in lets say 15mins) AND last sector
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Automatically - no. You will need to overwrite with empty sector the last sector in any case. And this is done manually. NTFS stores a copy of boot sector at the end of the drive for safety reason. That's why one need to erase it as well. But IMHO for your needs wiping the drive at the start should be ok.
andreasSystem AdminCommented:
Linux tools: dd_rescue and dd
Fadi SODAH (aka madunix)Chief Information Security Officer, CISA, CISSP, CFR, ICATE, MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, CCIP, SCSC and SCECommented:
Data may be permanently destroyed on a hard disk by a wiping utility, which uses random values to overwrite portions of the media, so use wiping utilities to clear hard disks for redeployment.
In our policy stated; If previously held confidential information, the disk should be reformatted and then a secure wipe of the disk should be carried out with appropriate utility software
Darik's Boot And Nuke or others's_Boot_and_Nuke 

In case of linux you can use dd and urandom to destroy the disk.
dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sd{drive letter}  bs=1024
andreasSystem AdminCommented:
For data destruction a wipe with zeros is sufficient in very most cases. its impossible to restore zeroed out data, even for data recovery companies.

For a NSA secure wipe it might still not be enough, but it should be enough for most every day cases. Its faster than to overwrite with random numbers. If NSA really wants your data they already got it before you even think about wiping the disks ;)
" .. Correct but with dd its a pain to delete the last few sectors of a HDD"
Not if you know about the skip=xxx  option.   If disk has 12345 blocks, and you want to blow away the last 3 blocks, then you simply do

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/xxxxxxx   bs=512  count=3  skip=12341     (Note it starts with zero,  hence the 12341 instead of 12342, but it really doesn't matter if you oversshoot it. It will write what it can, so I would save time and just do

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/xxxxxxx   bs=1024k   skip=12300
furunoAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone who gave some input.

WD Data LifeGuard was exactly what I was looking for.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.