Brookmans Park Newsletter Community Discussion Forum

General Discussion Boards => Technology => Topic started by: Mermaid on April 30, 2008, 05:29:43 pm

Title: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: Mermaid on April 30, 2008, 05:29:43 pm
Hello clever techie people, a question on completely wiping a hard drive please .....

I am thinking of donating a computer to someone who refurbs them and recycles them back to charities and good causes. They say that "all hard drives are fully formatted and re-partitioned to remove everything on them".

Is formatting and re-partitioning the hard drive enough to wipe personal data beyond recovery?

All answers very gratefully received.
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: Bob Horrocks on April 30, 2008, 05:40:13 pm
In the Saturday edition of the Telegraph there is a computer problem solver who answers such questions.  I am sure he has mentioned some cheap or free software guaranteed to wipe your hard disk.  Maybe a Google query would come up with the answer, or searching the Telegraph archives. The column is headed 'Huston we have a problem.
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: James Bentall on April 30, 2008, 06:01:28 pm
Blancco Lite is not that cheap (14 per machine) but will definately do the job:

http://www.blancco.com/eng/products/blancco+-+lite/

James
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: John_fraser on April 30, 2008, 06:04:37 pm
In short formatting the disk or deleting the files is not sufficient. Even if it were you should wipe the drive yourself and not trust anyone else to do this. Ideally you should remove the hard disk, open it up and smash the platters. If the charity requires the hard disk, then there are a number of tools that will remove all of the data and make sure it will not be recoverable: e.g. Norton's SystemWorks has Wipe Info. We use a free utility for this, which I can drop off if you wish. It will completely remove everything including the OS, so the charity will need to get their own Windows license.
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: sasquartch on April 30, 2008, 07:11:06 pm
I would suggest using the free version of Active@ Killdisk, available from www.killdisk.com.

The free version will do a single pass of your hard drive, wiping all data. I think US Government DoD standards call for a minimum of 7 passes to be really secure, you could run the process multiple times if required although in practice once or twice will be sufficient.

It would not be necessary for a charity to obtain a Windows licence in most cases even if the disk is wiped. All recent computers sold with Windows preinstalled will have a OEM licence, normally either a sticker on the base of the unit or a small booklet with a COA (certificate of Authenticity). If you have the booklet you should give this to whoever you are donating the computer to.

Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: Mermaid on April 30, 2008, 07:17:48 pm
Many thanks to you all, I'm really grateful   :D
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: Alfred the Great on April 30, 2008, 09:31:46 pm
Well I'm upset now because I've just got a new pc and was looking forward to taking the hard drive out of the old machine and smashing it to a million pieces with the sledgehammer (after transferring the data to the new one, of course).

Hmmmmmm.......maybe I can wipe it first and then smash it up.......
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: John_fraser on May 01, 2008, 08:46:36 am
If you do smash it, which is safest, be careful. The patters a drive stores it's data on are often made of glass. Because they are covered by the magnetic medium it isn't easy to tell until they shatter.

Alternatively you could remove the drive, place it into a USB container  and use it as a backup device.
Title: Re: Clearing a hard drive
Post by: Mermaid on May 01, 2008, 10:14:46 am
Well ATG, have you any plans for your old computer after you've destroyed the hard drive? If not and you would like it to be taken away and put to good use, please let me know   :)