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View Poll Results: Do you sanitize your old harddrives before you get rid of them?

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  • Yes

    9 69.23%
  • No

    4 30.77%
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  1. #1
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Computer Hygiene

    Here is food for thought. How many of you actually sanitize your old harddrives before you throw them away or sell them or give them to someone?

    It's scary to think that people in businesses and government organizations also fail to do this and end up leaking out people's personal/private information like account information or medical histories.

    There have been several stories recently in the news about information being recovered on old harddrives.

    Here are a few:

    http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.c...110&xlc=929443

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/ptech/0....ap/index.html

    http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oig/hq/identity.html
    Spookster
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  • #2
    jkd
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    I don't get rid of them.

    *has a 4gb quantum fireball sitting on dresser, a 2gb samsung floating around somewhere, and a 1.5gb nameless beast on the floor somewhere*


  • #3
    jkd
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    Oh, and one of those articles mentioned a "one-line command" in *nix to do.

    I'm assuming something like
    # dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/hda1

    or what?

  • #4
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    A good formatting is enough if I'm passing the disk on to friends or family. If I were to sell a disk on a forum or auction sight I'd have junk written all over the disk 3-4 times, I *think* the pgp software that used[?] to be freely available had such a facility.
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  • #5
    Regular Coder Feyd's Avatar
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    As a leftover to when I would disassemble :cough:destroy:cough: things as a child, I usually take them apart and do all manner of evil things to them...probably why I ended up with a darker hat, but hey, I can always claim it was abstract art focusing on the medium of the e-age.
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  • #6
    Super Moderator sage45's Avatar
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    Opening up the hard drive does not take away it's ability to access or retrieve data... The vacuum inside allows for a pollutant free (dirt free) environment for the drive mechanism so that dirt will not interfere with the head to platten interaction of the drive... Funny thing is though, that you can damage the plattens all you want on the hard drive, but magnetically you may still be able to retrieve data, just a matter of having the right tools to do it with...

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  • #7
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    Do you reckon it's possible with optical media than? Surely if you can write crap all over a magnetic disk and still decipher what was on, then optical media where the 1010101's are burned on and off will be the same?
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  • #8
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    ...now prehead the oven to 450*

    Place the high power magnets in each of the HD platters and place the entire disk in the oven.
    Bake for 45 minutes.

    Carefully remove and let cool.

    Once cool, remove the magnets and place the HD plates in the microwave and nuke for 5 seconds each...

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  • #9
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Feyd
    As a leftover to when I would disassemble :cough:destroy:cough: things as a child, I usually take them apart and do all manner of evil things to them...probably why I ended up with a darker hat, but hey, I can always claim it was abstract art focusing on the medium of the e-age.
    That's what I usually do. Destroy the HD, take out the disks and sand them down. When I was an intel analyst that's what we had to do with HD's containing classified information to sanitize them before we throw them out.
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  • #10
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    Thats why most companies, including Intel, take out the hard drives before they donate a computer.

    You also can use a burn program on the hard drive. That writes data multiple times to every sector on the disk.

  • #11
    Regular Coder Feyd's Avatar
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    Yes, but these methods come nowhere near to what I do to those poor little innocent HDs no matter what manners of good or evil they contain...let's just say that creativity, boredom and an intense desire to blow things up can be very entertaining and secure at the same exact time. (and this is after experimenting with chemicals (twice), intease heat (at least 4 times, with direct heat or application of flame directly), magenets, drops from extreme height, etc.)




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  • #12
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    I don't throw stuff out. I think I still have a 80MB SCSI hard drive around here somewhere...

  • #13
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    Oh my, I thought the question was regarding the physical cleaning of the HD .
    ~Kang He
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  • #14
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    fdisk, then remove all partitions. doesn't that do the trick?? I have never been able to take data from a disk that has no partitions left. Even when i re-create the partitions, the data is gone. I've tried to use different tools but never succeeded.
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  • #15
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Roelf
    fdisk, then remove all partitions. doesn't that do the trick?? I have never been able to take data from a disk that has no partitions left. Even when i re-create the partitions, the data is gone. I've tried to use different tools but never succeeded.
    It's quite easy with the right tools. When you remove partitiions or delete files you aren't actually deleting the files off the disk. You just remove any reference to them....basically they are lost in the eyes of your computer. They are still there though. Data Recovery businesses take your HD and use tools that scan the disks for data and and attempt to reassemble it into usable files.
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