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I didn't realise that the Linux wipe utility runs 25 passes by default. I'm wiping a 320 GB external disk drive, (it's about 25% into Pass 3 started around 4 PM yesterday, it's now 1 PM).

Can I just shut down the terminal window while wiping is in progress and not damage the drive?

root@name-pc:/home/name# sudo wipe /dev/sdc1
Okay to WIPE 1 special file ? (Yes/No) yes
Wiping /dev/sdc1, pass 0 (13) [19535616 / 19535616]
                  pass 1 (6)  [19535616 / 19535616]
                  pass 2 (24) [19535616 / 19535616]
                  pass 3 (32) [ 5097566 / 19535616]
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You should be able to safely stop the wipe and it shouldn't damage the drive. You will, of course, need to redo it's partition table and reformat the drive.

In the future, if you need to wipe a drive, you can do a 'quick wipe' with the -q option, which will do four passes. You can specify the number of passes for the quick wipe (if four is too many or too few) by specifying -Q n , where n is the number of passes.

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First of all, you can't mechanically damage a hard drive by doing this.

Also, your drive's been wiped already, so stopping in the middle of yet another pass won't make it any less useful than it already is.

You can try to Ctrl-C the command and cancel it this way, or close the terminal window, which will probably prompt you about a running process.

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I don't understand the part about interrupting: If you wanted to wipe 4 times, why would you put up with 3.5? Or 1.5? I guess normally one has a reason to do 4 or 25 wipes... – Alois Mahdal Jan 22 '12 at 0:12
Why would you put up with 3.5? I don't know, ask the OP. With every randomized wipe it becomes harder to restore the data, that's why you'd normally do more than one. – slhck Jan 22 '12 at 1:27
That wasn't meant as real question, I was just illustrating my confusion :) From your phrase, it seemed to me like interrupting the wipe dos not matter, e.g. 3.5 passes are not less useful than 4 passes. (I'm not a native English speaker, though...) – Alois Mahdal Jan 22 '12 at 4:15

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