If I wanted to completely and securely wipe a hard drive, could I simply write all ones or zeroes (or even just random zeroes and ones) over the entire disk to clean it? It'd probably take forever, but is my theory correct?
That should suffice. There is a theory that you need to do this multiple times because of variations in tracking, however the threat countered by this seems largely theoretical.
You may find it easier to use a drill or a very large hammer.
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As a general guide line, wiping the drive 3 times is the maximum wipe count that I will use. Beyond that is overkill, unless your are dealing with extremely sensitive data.
Any data recovered after 2 wipes, is probably impossible. 3 or 5, would make it virtually impossible.