Wiping a Hard Drive

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by MF, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. MF

    MF Guest

    This is like what do you do in Denver when you're dead....

    Anyone know a practical, effective way to erase a hard drive that is deader
    than a brick? It's a West. Digital 60 gig 7200 RPM. It won't spin up and
    WD's diagnostic utilities won't recognize it. It went out a few days before
    the warranty expired and I want to try to return it, but it has _lots_ of
    sensitive info on it, and, dead or not, I don't want it in the hands of

    By practical, I mean something accessible to the average bozo, like me.
    Running it thru an MRI scanner might be worth a try, but not too practical.


    MF, Nov 11, 2004
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  2. MF

    Kenny Guest

    Kenny, Nov 11, 2004
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  3. MF

    Martin Guest

    If the info is so sensitive I would use a large hammer on it, and then just
    buy a new drive.
    Martin, Nov 11, 2004
  4. MF

    MF Guest

    That's a possibility, but I would rather have the company that sold me a
    weak, defective product replace it. Hence asking for an effective way to
    wipe it.
    MF, Nov 11, 2004
  5. MF

    me Guest

    melt it? or cut it in half--or into several pieces with something.
    me, Nov 11, 2004
  6. MF

    Martin Guest

    I can understand that, but sometimes peace of mind is worth a few
    Martin, Nov 11, 2004
  7. MF

    Mark Guest

    Set it on one big ass magnet for about two hours.
    Mark, Nov 11, 2004
  8. MF

    jas0n Guest

    dont think so!

    if you ever open up a hard drive you'll find a nice strong magnet
    already sitting right next to the platters!
    jas0n, Nov 11, 2004
  9. MF

    Mark Guest

    We use one all the time Jason...its the same magnet we use to erase DIGI
    tapes of our phone system...works great on harddrives...they gat a little
    hot after sitting there.
    Mark, Nov 12, 2004
  10. MF

    AG Guest

    Hey Barry, you've got the answer. All he has to do is take it up to the
    hospital and run it through the MRI!!!

    AG, Nov 15, 2004
  11. MF

    Martin Guest

    You got that right.
    An MRI will even blank the strip on the back of your credit and ATM cards.
    Martin, Nov 15, 2004
  12. MF

    Thumper Guest

    They probably were. It may take a big magnet to erase a hard drive but
    only a few bits in the right place need to be screwed up to give a
    computer fits.
    To reply drop XYZ in address
    Thumper, Nov 15, 2004
  13. MF

    Martin Guest

    I bet a magnetic sledge hammer would work. ;-)
    Martin, Nov 16, 2004
  14. I've tried both microwave oven magnets and external CRT degaussing
    coils on floppies...nothing got erased initially. I never went back to
    check, say, three months later, though.

    Tom MacIntyre, Nov 16, 2004
  15. I haven't read it yet, but it showed up in my e-mail within the last
    day or two...


    Make Your Data Go Away: Hard Drive Shredders to the Rescue

    I get the impression that it's not published on their site; it's in
    HTML format also, and I think it's just a newsletter (one of the many
    I receive but can't get a chance to read them). Just an FYI...

    Tom MacIntyre, Nov 16, 2004
  16. I'll tell you what will erase floppies in large numbers, even to the
    point that a Track Zero Bad, Disk Unusable message is reversed...a
    bulk video tape eraser in a TV station. I personally think that a HDD
    would be unphased (sorry for the bad and unintentional pun here)
    though. :)
    Tom MacIntyre, Nov 17, 2004
  17. MF

    MF Guest

    hey, tom,

    yeah, it's on their site. here:
    http://www.informit.com/articles/printerfriendly.asp?p=349882 .

    it lead me to other sites where i discovered that they now have shredders
    for hard drives. cut 'em up, chop 'em up and spit 'em out in particles.
    might try to get a job in one of those places. :)

    it looks like the only possibility would be a bulk tape eraser - i thought
    maybe a degausser would do it, but from what you and others said ( yours was
    actually empirical, always better) that won't do it.

    thanks to all who replied. recap - the drive is dead, it won't spin, hence
    software is useless. i discovered it;s death a couple days before the
    warranty ran out. after about increasingly irate eight emails, got an RMA.
    but then became paranoid about the data on the drive.

    it failed sometime before i discovered it. it was the slave on the primary
    channel in a computer that works fine, and it's function was to support 4
    operating systems in a lab. because it was big enough to do that easily, i
    just left the data from previous use on it. (lesson for me and all - don't
    do that.) i did that because i have -personally- had good luck with drives.
    I have a couple that are ten years old, have sat for half a decade, and
    still work. This one sat for three months and failed. Western Digital. My
    on methods - kenny's link to 200 ways to revive your drive - was great.
    thanks! i had already tried most of them. have finally slammed it on the
    floor - and that didn't work. have tried what barry calls the radial twist,
    as good a name as any, many times: it didn't work. i have from the
    beginning been pretty sure it's a dead chip on the controller board - which
    means that a thief in the receiving room at the return mail room could get
    it running again by screwing on an old controller board.

    unfortuneately, i can't get a replacement on a credit card and swap boards
    without violating the warranty, if they happen to look at it.

    now, just to clear up a myth, taking the cover off a drive rarely destroys
    it. it will introduce stuff that will ruin the drive over time, but i have
    pulled old drives out of boxes, taken the covers off to show students what
    they looked like inside, put the covers back on, stuck them into a machine,
    booted them up finding windows 3.1, and examined the data on the drives.
    just to show it could be done. it can be done, and for security purposes
    don't forget that.

    breaking the platters will work. you can still get data, but no casual or
    even professional thief would have the necessary equipment, or the desire to
    look for it. so that's probably what i'll do, and forgoe the replacement.

    tis truly a bite in the ass. i've had personal even intimate experience
    with about 8 WD drives. three of them failed early. i would like WD bear
    some of the cost. but my only possible access to a bulk tape eraser is a
    friend in a radio station 450 miles away, not a feasible trip right now, and
    not cost effective in any case. and his station may not even have one any

    if anyone knows of possible access to a bulk tape eraser in the philadelphia
    area (south east pennsylvania / south jersey) please let me know at
    wallacestevens at usa com. symbols and dots in the
    appropriate places.

    thanks for all the answers, even those that suggested hitting it with a

    mike flinn
    MF, Nov 19, 2004
  18. MF

    MF Guest


    hat will ruin the drive over time, but i have
    pulled old drives out of boxes

    by boxes i mean real boxes: old, open, cardboard boxes with everyting inside
    covered with dust, not the metaphor for computers.

    sorry for the lack of clarity.

    pop quiz: metaphor, simile. what's the diference?
    MF, Nov 19, 2004
  19. They're types of soda pop? :)

    Seriously, without looking it up...I don't know. I wonder if a
    Thesaurus would list them together, or if they're different enough for
    this not to happen.

    Tom MacIntyre, Nov 19, 2004
  20. I'm not from the "Show Me" state, but I often act like it. :)

    Tom MacIntyre, Nov 19, 2004
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