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  1. #1
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    Low-tech options for safe hard-drive disposal




    LANGALIST PLUS


    Low-tech options for safe hard-drive disposal



    By Fred Langa

    When wiping old hard drives isn't possible, use these simple, no-cost methods to snoop-proof the drive's data. Plus: Windows access for Linux-formatted drives, a severe Windows-kernel crash, and a Win7/8 tool for removing tons of obsolete Windows Update files.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/low-tech-options-for-safe-hard-drive-disposal/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    For years I've used a power drill (KISS!). Very quick and easy, without the danger and mess of swinging hammers!

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    I'll second the power drill approach. Very quick and easy. (Eye protection is also a good idea with this approach!)

    Quote Originally Posted by nmarler View Post
    For years I've used a power drill (KISS!). Very quick and easy, without the danger and mess of swinging hammers!

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    Suggestions for Windows Servers

    Bloated WinSxS folders are also a big problem on 2008 and 2012 Windows Server editions. What if anything can be used to purge these updates?


    Quote Originally Posted by Kathleen Atkins View Post



    LANGALIST PLUS


    Low-tech options for safe hard-drive disposal



    By Fred Langa

    When wiping old hard drives isn't possible, use these simple, no-cost methods to snoop-proof the drive's data. Plus: Windows access for Linux-formatted drives, a severe Windows-kernel crash, and a Win7/8 tool for removing tons of obsolete Windows Update files.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/low-tech-options-for-safe-hard-drive-disposal/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Fred, Slightly higher tech, but easier if you happen to have one. I use a power hammer (a tool that uses a blank .22 cartridge to shoot a nail into concrete or brick). One quick shot (and, yes, wear safety glasses) drives a spike right through the heart of that old drive.

  6. #6
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    De-magnetized

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathleen Atkins View Post



    LANGALIST PLUS


    Low-tech options for safe hard-drive disposal



    By Fred Langa

    When wiping old hard drives isn't possible, use these simple, no-cost methods to snoop-proof the drive's data. Plus: Windows access for Linux-formatted drives, a severe Windows-kernel crash, and a Win7/8 tool for removing tons of obsolete Windows Update files.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/low-tech-options-for-safe-hard-drive-disposal/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    I use a tape demagnetizer from my days of disposing of old audio tapes. I slowly rub it around, maybe 30-60 seconds on each side of the drive. I figure that should confuse the magnetic particles on the platters enough to make them useless.
    Last edited by newsbob; 2014-10-02 at 11:03. Reason: Wrong word.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    It important to note that not all degaussers will erase hard drives. The field strength and the orientation of the degaussing field need to be able to penetrate the aluminum housing of the hard drive and be strong enough to reverse the polarity of the high coercivity magnetic particles on the disk platters
    . http://www.garner-products.com/harddrive.htm

    That said, the site does offer degaussers for sanitizing hard drives.

    Note also that due to complete destruction of control data, once a drive is degaussed, it can not be reused. But that's the point here, isn't it?

    Note further that degaussers which have a high enough coercivity rating to get the job done on modern hard drives start at nearly $4,000 US Dollars. They go up from there. If you know what you're doing, strong magnets costing under $40 US Dollars may get the job done.

    Sorry, but ordinary tape bulk erasers generally don't have enough coercivity to get the job done on modern hard drives.

    See also this fascinating article on various hard drive destruction methods.
    http://www.semshred.com/contentmgr/s...ls.php/id/2480
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-10-02 at 16:03.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    It seems like that might work if the metal covers have been removed from the hard drive, but if not, the metal probably diffuses the magnetic field that reaches the platters to the point where it's not a reliable method for erasing data. Have you tried using a disk after giving it the tape degausser treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by newsbob View Post
    I use a tape demagnetizer from my days of disposing of old audio tapes. I slowly rub it around, maybe 30-60 seconds on each side of the drive. I figure that should confuse the magnetic particles on the platters enough to make them useless.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MBob View Post
    It seems like that might work if the metal covers have been removed from the hard drive, but if not, the metal probably diffuses the magnetic field that reaches the platters to the point where it's not a reliable method for erasing data. Have you tried using a disk after giving it the tape degausser treatment?
    No, actually I haven't gone back to check, since I assumed (inaccurately, I suppose, given some of the comments here) that the job was done.

    I'm now facing a similar quandary: I just had a Seagate 3TB desktop drive go south. Luckily it was backed up and still under warranty (just over two years after I bought it on Amazon.)

    But now I need to erase the data. The problem is that the drive no longer shows up in Windows. I could find it intermittently for a while. I did a chkdsk and ran a Seagate diagnostic, but it still crashed while I was doing a last minute transfer.

    It's an external drive, so there's a layer of plastic, and then metal, so I doubt the degausser will be able to penetrate through everything to do any good erasing.

    Since I need to return it to Seagate to get a replacement, I can't really damage it with a drill or hammer.

    Any suggestions?

  10. #10
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    I would think that Seagate should be able and willing to confirm that they will dispose of the drive in keeping with accepted data destruction standards once they are done with any testing/diagnostic process they have in place, and that they will protect the drive and data in the meantime, once it's in their hands. Other than taking their word for all that, and tracking the package when you ship it to them, there's probably not a lot you can do.

    If it is really sensitive data that you wouldn't want compromised at any cost, it may be best just to take the power drill to it and eat the cost of the drive, just for your own piece of mind. Then, buy a WD and let that be a lesson to Seagate.

    Quote Originally Posted by newsbob View Post
    No, actually I haven't gone back to check, since I assumed (inaccurately, I suppose, given some of the comments here) that the job was done.

    I'm now facing a similar quandary: I just had a Seagate 3TB desktop drive go south. Luckily it was backed up and still under warranty (just over two years after I bought it on Amazon.)

    But now I need to erase the data. The problem is that the drive no longer shows up in Windows. I could find it intermittently for a while. I did a chkdsk and ran a Seagate diagnostic, but it still crashed while I was doing a last minute transfer.

    It's an external drive, so there's a layer of plastic, and then metal, so I doubt the degausser will be able to penetrate through everything to do any good erasing.

    Since I need to return it to Seagate to get a replacement, I can't really damage it with a drill or hammer.

    Any suggestions?

  11. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I prefer the swinging hammer.
    It has the dual effect of destruction with tension relief.

    If it's a large disk type drive you have to open it up and get at the platters.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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    No mention I see of solid drives. I have an old Sony tablet that will not even boot up, so can't clear/wipe the data. Any suggestions?
    Tim

    (Asus Transformer Aio. Win8.1. Galaxy S4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5)

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    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Another effective, and fun approach is to use them as targets when siting in your 30-30 or 5.56 rifle.

    If you don't have one yet, I suggest that you get one soon.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timsinc View Post
    No mention I see of solid drives. I have an old Sony tablet that will not even boot up, so can't clear/wipe the data. Any suggestions?
    Physical separation of the Controller (circuit board) from the Flash Array will be sufficient. Without the Controller, SSDs are all but unreadable except by the very most sophisticated methods.

    There is an Internal Secure Erase Command, which sends a signal over the entire Flash array and zeros everything in one operation. It's included in recent editions of the bootable Parted Magic CD (also usable on a bootable USB stick with BIOS settings adjusted).

    http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-se...-an-ssd-drive/
    -- Bob Primak --

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