How much does a disk wipe cost?

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by Shane136, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Shane136


    I'm getting rid of my old computer because my new one will be in soon so I want to permanently delete all the information on my hard disk before I sell it so no one gets a hold of my important passwords and data.

    How much do you think this would cost? I know I can buy software to do this or use free software but I don't trust my computer skills to wipe my important data off for good.
  2. AOS-

    Canada 'Sauga, ON

    go to My Computer > Right Click your HDD > Format. That will erase EVERYTHING.

    To be even more sure, smash the HDD in half afterwards.

    Oh wait you're selling it. Uninstall, Format, that's all I know of. Should be good enough. When you format your computer, you're reinstalling the OS on your computer, it's like putting a brand new game save file over your existing one...
  3. Shane136


    I thought reformatting doesn't delete files permanently, it just covers them up?
  4. AOS-

    Canada 'Sauga, ON

    I'm not sure about these kinds of things but after going through 8 reformats (at the very least), I'm not able to pick up a trace of anything from the previous OS.
  5. Aldo

    Australia Melbourne, Living the dream

    I'm not sure how you would go about it, but the OP is correct. Even a full format doesn't delete everything.
    That is how file recovery software like Recuva can recover files that you thought were long gone.
  6. Shane136


    I would rather not be paying for a guys vacation in the Bahamas lol
  7. The only way to completely get rid of information on a HDD would be magnetically or punching a hole in the platters on the hard drive....shooting it will a shotgun always works too and it is very therapeutic, but that might just be me (a bat to the old monitor works well too). :crazy:
  8. If you can get a hold of the antiquated DOS 6.0 or even 5.0, it will format the disc in such a way that will render any recovery of files obsolete.
  9. That's a BIG if. :sly:
  10. nick09

    United States NY

    Here you go, MS-DOS. Just better hope that you have an floppy drive. Or you could always take the hard drive out and sell the computer without one.
  11. Shane136


    So basically forget selling it?
  12. ROAD_DOGG33J

    Online Now!
    United States IL, USA

    From what I know, a low-level format should wipe everything out. If it writes 0s over the entire disk, there should be nothing to recover.

    I would probably keep the drive just in case.
  13. moneyfink


    Download this software:

    Burn it to CD, boot that machine to the CD you just burned, select your hard drive, then erase.

    It will write a "random" pattern of 1 and 0 over every single sector of the drive. 3 times. Three passes make data recovery next to impossible. It is just cost prohibitive (several hundered thousand USD of equipment) to recover the data. If you are paranoid you could run dban several times.

    Data was recovered off of the charred hard drives from the Columbia disaster, so I consider this erasure to be comparable to Drill press/shotgun method of data erasure.

    I work at a technology recycling company that wipes about 110 drives per day. This uses the same technology as our enterprise version.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  14. Shane136


    I actually burned that earlier onto a CD and didn't get it to work which is why I would just find someone who knew how to do it.
  15. Danoff

    United States Mile High City

    Personally, I would not sell a used HDD. Remove the HDD and tell the buyer to put one in themselves. Either that, or pick one up for $30 and put it in. The proper way to wipe a hard disc is to do multiple low-level formats and do a magnetic wipe using a device who's sole purpose is to wipe the disc.

    Folks who really want to keep their data safe shred their spent HDDs.
  16. ^ Shotgun method... :) :) :tup:

    Just kidding. I have used the above mentioned software and it works very well and I have used the magnet and that work well too. Unfortunately, if you do not know what you are doing both can be irritating. As mentioned before, I say just take your HDD out and put another small one in and sell the system that way.
  17. Shane136


    No idea what an HDD is lol, I'm 19 and have the computer knowledge of a 3 year old.
  18. ROAD_DOGG33J

    Online Now!
    United States IL, USA

    Here's some help.
  19. This is the best advice so far.
  20. Azuremen

    United States 509

    Kids these days.

    Thank you ROAD.

    Is it really that hard you guys? Really?
  21. Casio


    This is the first and only answer if you're crazy paranoid.




    Do you honestly think that someone is going to spend $1000s of dollars on data recovery to possibly get information stored off the HDD off some nobody? Even if they were that stupid, it's pretty unlikely they'd find things like credit card passwords unless you have a text file labeled PASSWORDS AND VALUABLE INFORMATION on your desktop. As someone linked before, there are heaps of drive preparation software online that will put random digits on your HDD, you don't need anything more than that unless you're the president.
  22. Crash

    United States Puget Sound

    Or if you're the State Department, or the Department of Defense, or the CIA.

    No, but seriously, as people have said, the only way to truly guarantee that no information will ever be recovered off a hard drive is to physically destroy the platters of the hard drive. However, using software such as dban and other formatting software, doing multi-pass formats writing all zeros or ones will generally be sufficient. Just doing a simple format though (especially a quick format that is used in Windows nowadays) will simply delete the reference pointing to the file and mark that space as available for overwrite, but the data will still be recoverable.
  23. nk4e

    Philippines Nerv, Equestria

    Get a old/new OS and just wipe everything clean.
  24. BobK


    Boot linux off a CD or thumb drive or whatever. Then type:

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1000000000000

    if it's a SATA drive change /dev/hda to /dev/sda

    That'll write zeroes to the entire drive. Repeat a couple times for good measure.

    Yes it'll take a while; anything that writes lots of gigabytes takes time.
  25. Acronis true image has a function that can secure erase a hard disk to the standard used by the US department of defense. It takes a while, but you can be pretty sure the data is gone for good.
  26. infamousDee


    I've never understood this. If this kind of software really does write a truly random pattern over the entire disk, then why would some data still remain?
  27. G.T

    United Kingdom U.K

    Nope, with the right know-how, for free.

    I do a Digital Forensics degree and this tool can be pretty effective. There are many other tools out there as well (all mostly free) which can recover data but they're more specific. I'd definitely start with PhotoRec first.

    If you are that worried about it, just remove and destroy the hard disk. Or run that DBan program at least. There is another one which can pernamently delete stuff on the hard drive, but I can't recall this second. I'll post if I remember.

    Just if anyone is curious, CAINE 2.0 is a version of Ubuntu which has many of these tools installed - all totally free.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  28. BobK


    While that tool does look like a useful utility to have, it's really just a powerful undelete utility. If the data has been overwritten, it won't help you.

    There are tools that can recover data even if it's been overwritten, and they are expensive. The idea is that even when data is overwritten, tiny magnetic traces of it remain. That's why it's recommended to overwrite a disk with zeroes or random data or whatever multiple times; eventually the original data becomes indetectable.
  29. king21


    couldn't have said it better myself

    try making it a bootable cd
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2011
  30. moneyfink


    A 1 or 0 is never actually a 1 or a 0. Its a north or a south magnetic field. If you overwrite a 1 with a 0. It might actaully be a .05, which indicative of its old state. So in theory after one overwrite a VERY ADVANCED piece of hardware could determine the old 1's and 0's. Still very unlikely, but theoretically possible.
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