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Monday, January 30th, 2012SUGGEST NEWS

Hard Drive Cleaner?
Posted by: Nebuchadnezzar on January 30th, 2012 @ 9:34AM

VS40Fresh recommends delete here

I'm sure you've heard those stories of people giving their computers away and people use tools to restore the hard drives and get your personal info off them. Are there any free programs out there I can use on my hard drives to make sure the data is REALLY deleted?

Is there a way to keep some of your stuff on the hard drive but delete other stuff on there? Or is it an all or nothing shot?

COMMENTS (19) | COMPUTERS | DIGG
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Wootah
non-leet

January 30th, 2012 @ 11:44AM

Registered:
2003-05-16
Location:
Utah
Posts: 1609
If your data is that sensitive, though, you are better off melting down the drives with thermite. Storage is cheap. Data is priceless.

If your data is that sensitive, you should have been using Truecrypt But if you are interested in keeping the drive, and not taking the thermite route (though it is HELLA fun) then just writing zeroes is the easiest way.

Here is a Brief History of the great zero challenge and the fact that no professional recovery firm ever took them up on it.

EDITED: 2012-01-30 11:47:49
Noss
Peon

January 26th, 2012 @ 12:26PM

Registered:
2004-02-10
Location:
Canada
Posts: 1238
Yeah do what Hammer said about what Moosehead said.
m0rb0
Op

January 25th, 2012 @ 7:22PM

Registered:
2003-03-27
Location:
San Antonio, TX.
Posts: 511
DoD wipe


It's on the Hirens bootCD. You should be able to find Hirens easily, if not, get at me.
Hammer
General

January 25th, 2012 @ 7:16PM

Registered:
2009-04-07
Location:
Posts: 658
Moosehead has the best advice, but from a security stand point, I'm usually happy with a simple low level format.

I use this guy:
http://hddguru.com/

@ Magnets --- Traditionally a good idea but many recent HDDs are absolutely unrecoverable today if you use a magnet on them.

@ Taking HDDs out --- companies always do this, but you know what ends up happening? You end up having a closet full of useless HDDs. A few years pass and you look back and say "Why do we seriously have 500 MB HDDs still? OH YEA! ITS BECAUSE IT HAS POTENTIALLY CLASSIFIED INFO ON IT". That's just stupid.

@ Breaking the HDD --- seriously, not to sound like a hippie, but you could give the HDD a good home instead of making it trash. They aren't the easiest things to recycle :-\

You have to ask yourself what the potential dangers are when you give someone an HDD. Are they REALLY going to have forensic software to go remap your HDD bit by bit? How easy is it to obtain software that can do that (Not very easy). Are you giving the HDD to someone you reasonably trust?

Just answering yes to the last question should make doing a low level format the only precaution you need.
Charkoth
Right Wing Extremist

January 25th, 2012 @ 6:06PM

Registered:
2003-05-08
Location:
OHIO
Posts: 2570
I always take a hammer to my old hard drives and since I only use raid 0 it would be next to impossible for anyone to recover anything meaningful from regardless.
Ultimaswc3
Peon

January 25th, 2012 @ 3:30PM

Registered:
2008-11-22
Location:
Posts: 25
Just make sure to `zero-out` all the bytes/blocks on the drive. Writing all zeros erases any lingering information. Normally, computers just delete information from the file system table so it is eventually overwritten (efficiency).
ivehadnoduisforthreeweeks
Peon

January 25th, 2012 @ 2:52PM

Registered:
2007-03-03
Location:
Posts: 403
Fire works best. The intense heat melts it to nothing.
BiVRiP
General

September 15th, 2007 @ 1:52PM

Registered:
2003-05-11
Location:
Canada
Posts: 2067
DJNewStyle: This is grabbed right from wiki...

"...defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically reorganizing the contents of the disk to store the pieces of each file close together and contiguously."

So defraging your hard drive will actually make access to its data easier, not harder.
DJNewStyle
Peon

September 15th, 2007 @ 6:57AM

Registered:
2003-03-27
Location:
New Jersey
Posts: 186
Run defrag.
BiVRiP
General

September 14th, 2007 @ 7:57PM

Registered:
2003-05-11
Location:
Canada
Posts: 2067
The most prudent thing to do is have the hard drive destroyed, especially if you`ve ever done any banking on your computer or have stored any confidential/proprietary info on it.

I`m by no means an expert, but this is what I`ve recommended to my family/friends seeing as I`m their go-to tech guy...the more steps you follow the better:

1) Delete everything you can from the hard drive. For Windows users, you want to pay special attention to the Documents and Settings folder where user profiles are stored as well as most temp folders including IE`s default cache folder (Note: the Local Settings folder is hidden by default).
2) Re-partition and re-format the drive if you know how.
3) Take the hard drive out.
4) Remove the circuit board and smash it with a hammer. More pieces = better
5) Use a drill to make several holes in the disk platter itself (the silver/metal part).

For the average joe who knows little about computers, steps 4 & 5 are your best friend.

And besides the cost of new hard drives these days is peanuts. I just checked Newegg.com and you can but a top of the line Western Digital 500gig drive for about $100 USD.
Knighthammer
Peon

September 14th, 2007 @ 7:39PM

Registered:
2003-04-06
Location:
Posts: 30
Here`s a quick summary of how things are really deleted on your computer.

Theres this thing called the "File Allocation Table". It`s literally a manifest of EVERYTHING on your computer and it tells your computer where every part of a file is located. It would be like filing every piece of paper you come in contact with in a huge filing cabinet and have a huge spreadsheet telling you all the essential information about it such as the name of the file, date created, date modified, date accessed and date deleted (you can`t see this).

Whenever you delete ANYTHING, your computer simply erases that entry from the FAT Table (File Allocation Table) but the file is still physically there. The only way its REMOVED from your computer is when you physically copy something that consumes that same area it once was at. There are programs typically referred to as "Shredders" that will take one blank bit of data and copy it over each sector that data consumed on your Hard drive to totally eliminate it. It`s not fool proof though. Someone who knows there way around a good disc editor MIGHT be able to recover it or at least something about it.

If you`re THAT worried about security, the only reliable way to destroy the data beyond recovery is to use a GIANT Electro Magnet on the drive and then burn it.

A program that WAS good at doing that back in the day was "Norton Shredder" by the program itself doesn`t seem to exist for current versions of windows.

Here is a downloads search of programs that seem to do the job.

http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0.html?tg=dl-20&qt=Shredder&tag=srch
KMac
Kali Compton

September 14th, 2007 @ 6:13PM

Registered:
2003-03-26
Location:
Posts: 555
Why get rid of a computer? Keep everything around for spares!
Agent86
Kali Compton

September 14th, 2007 @ 5:26PM

Registered:
2003-03-25
Location:
Posts: 46
Taking out the drive is the easiest way to keep all your stuff protected.

But, if you want to give a working computer with a drive, then Darik's Boot and Nuke is what you are looking for.
Enforcerman
Kali Compton

September 14th, 2007 @ 4:18PM

Registered:
2003-03-26
Location:
SCL Headquarters - Texas Division
Posts: 327
Easy solution to this: Just take the HD out of the comptuer when you get rid of it. Save all your HD's
Shotty
Kali Compton

September 14th, 2007 @ 3:28PM

Registered:
2003-03-26
Location:
Chicago, IL
Posts: 300
Huge f'ing magnet should work.
Nebuul
Peon

September 14th, 2007 @ 3:19PM

Registered:
2003-03-31
Location:
U S A
Posts: 89
netsavior is correct. However, if you want to be certain, you need to take the file sizes into account. Otherwise, if a file does not completely fill a sector it uses, there will be some unwritten data at the end.

If your data is that sensitive, though, you are better off melting down the drives with thermite. Storage is cheap. Data is priceless.
killer6600
Marine

September 14th, 2007 @ 2:53PM

Registered:
2007-06-16
Location:
canada
Posts: 1413
i used to have system mechanic....i don`t know if it`s free anymore but it wipes your hard drive to military standards, i.e. fill and format every byte 8 times
netsavior
Marine

September 14th, 2007 @ 2:35PM

Registered:
2003-08-13
Location:
Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 271
Since stuff you delete is not deleted untill you overwrite the space, it is fairly simple...

beyond high $$$ forensic scientists reading decay on the drive... not much can be recovered if you do this:

Delete all your stuff (i.e. format it after putting it in a different computer)
then copy the same file several times till it fills the hard drive.

I have a copy of a DivX movie that is like 1gb all I do is copy that a bunch of times... then fill up the remaining space with copies of some smaller file.

Delete all that stuff; then you have a Hard drive that they could recover the Divx movie and those small files from and that's it.

With a fast machine, or a small-ish hard drive, it is like 10-60 minutes of work to do it, and it is simple.
Moosehead
Marine

September 14th, 2007 @ 2:29PM

Registered:
2003-03-27
Location:
Canada
Posts: 266
Darik`s Boot and Nuke


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