| By Fred Langa |
Wiping the data off old drives is a smart thing to do, but secure erasing also must be easy to do.
Powerful software is worthless if it’s too hard to use, but I’ve found a free drive-wiping tool that’s powerful enough for pros yet simple enough for newbies.
In search of a simple, CD-based disk wiper
Kim Boriskin needs a tool that anyone — even unskilled volunteers — can use to reliably wipe the data off hard drives:
- “I do some work for an organization that often processes computers before distributing them to charities, for example. We always wipe the hard drives using a Department of Defense (DoD) wipe. We’ve been using a bootable floppy disk to perform the wipes, but fewer computers than ever have floppy drives, and for reasons I won’t discuss, we won’t use a USB floppy drive to start the process.
“Do you know of any free disk wipers that can be written on a bootable CD and that can accomplish a secure disk wipe? I’ve found only one, Darik’s Boot and Nuke, from DBAN [more info]. But it’s confusing to nontechies, and clumsy even for techies. We could use something simpler.”
You’re dealing with two separate issues: you need a tool that’s easier to use than the one you currently have and one that can run on a bootable CD. I have a solution, but it takes a minute to get there — so bear with me.
Scrub3 is a venerable, free tool that’s widely used for rendering hard disk data all-but-impossible to recover. Scrub3 can overwrite the disk with various patterns, including the original (2001) DoD three-pass overwrite and the newer, National Security Agency–recommended seven-pass overwrite.