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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Wiping an external hard drive clean

    Hi,

    I have two external hard drives that functioned very poorly. Is there a way I can wipe them clean without hooking them back up to my computer and using an erasing program?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Moon,

    Method 1: Safety Glasses and Sledge Hammer - Hit Hard, repeat as needed.
    Method 2: Local scrap yard with Magnet on crane, give it a ride.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I'm with RG. Method 1 is definitely more fun.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    I like to use my Winchester 30-30 to render them "clear".
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
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  5. #5
    4 Star Lounger
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    The Winchester method seems like it would be fun. Thanks. I see that, to the degree possible, total physiscal destruction is the solution.

    Have a good one....

  6. #6
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    History:
    I've been given a number of WD external drives that have stopped working.
    I take the drive out of the plastic enclosure, then connect it up to my big desktop PC and access it as a slave drive.

    Then I can run FDISK or some partition manager on it to remove all partitions and then I create one new partition on it and use the DOS format command to reformat and re-certify the drive.
    (any bad sectors will be blocked out, by the DOS Format...other format types will NOT do that)
    I've gained several very useable hard drives with that procedure.

    The method #1, #2, or Winchester might be fun, but you loose what might be a very useable hard drive.
    I'm not wealthy, and saving a useable HD is FUN for me. "Waste not, want not!"

    Cheers Mates!
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    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Doctor, What you said sounds very sensible. Thank you.

  8. #8
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    ccleaner has drive wiper which I use to wipe all my driver.

  9. #9
    4 Star Lounger
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    jaydee, I have ccleaner. I will try their drive wiper. Thank you for the information.

  10. #10
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    Yes, you need to wipe or physically destroy the drive. Just Partitioning and reformatting the drive does not fully erase the contents of the drive. Many files can remain intact with just their names removed from the File Allocation Table. Most new computers come with a built in wipe program now.

  11. #11
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moon1130 View Post
    jaydee, I have ccleaner. I will try their drive wiper. Thank you for the information.
    Check the settings in both boxes before starting.

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  12. #12
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigMac56 View Post
    Yes, you need to wipe or physically destroy the drive. Just Partitioning and reformatting the drive does not fully erase the contents of the drive. Many files can remain intact with just their names removed from the File Allocation Table. Most new computers come with a built in wipe program now.
    Totally inaccurate! You're obviously unfamiliar with DOS. FDISK will remove the File Allocation Table, MBR and everything else on the drive that can point to any single file.
    Then the DOS Format command writes and then reads every sector on the drive, finally writing all zero's in every sector, and blocking out any sectors that are deemed untrustworthy. NO other format that I'm familiar with will do that.

    But whatever method a person may use to Wipe a drive, short of the Winchester method, does require the drive being connected to some computer.

    Good Luck,
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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  13. The Following User Says Thank You to DrWho For This Useful Post:

    Medico (2012-11-15)

  14. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I believe many of us have forgotten the old Dos days (some with thanks for that). Can you perhaps elaborate on the methods those of us that do not have floppy drives can use on our PC's. Can these commands be loaded onto DVD's or Flash Drives?
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  15. #14
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    Sorry Doc, but "Format" does not erase all trace of the files, just the pointers to them. Hence the need for Disk Wiper's. There are many websites out there that support this.
    Quote "In Windows XP and prior versions of Windows, the data on a hard drive's partition isn't truly erased during a format, it's simply marked as "available" by the new file system. In other words, it tells the operating system that uses the partition to pretend there's no data, even though there really is. See How To Wipe a Hard Drive for instructions on completely erasing the information on a drive."

  16. #15
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    The free version of Partition Wizard includes a bootable media. The bootable media is a nice menu driven interface. It includes a disk and/or partition wipe function. It allows the user to select between:
    Fill with all 0’s
    Fill with all 1’s
    Fill with all 0 & 1’s
    Make 3 passes
    Make 7 passes.
    The options will apply to either disk or partition as selected. There are also options to test the surface. Surface testing can be done before or after or both.
    I use this bootable media for all my low level formatting.
    Caution: large disks can take several hours to complete.

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