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We have a lot of drives that need to be sanitized. NIST SP 800-88 recommends software that uses the ATA Secure Erase command. That's apparently the only way to be sure that the drive is properly wiped, due to bad-block remapping and such.

I know that this functionality is available in hdparm. The problem with that approach is that it is inconsistent on multiple platforms, occasionally times out, doesn't have error-checking logic, and doesn't check the resulting drive to make sure that it has, in fact, been erased. So a proper program might use hdparm, but hdparm by itself isn't an answer.

I'm looking for open source software that implements ATA Secure Erase. Ideally it will be a bootable disk image like DBAN, but it will use the ATA command.

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closed as off-topic by random Sep 20 at 17:22

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Re: HDparm timeout. - The time out (after 2 hours) is a known problem for HDparm versions older than 9.31. A newer version should not have that problem. –  Hennes Jul 25 '12 at 12:51
Thanks. That's good to know. Unfortunately, it's still the case that hdparm by itself isn't the answer... It may be that the answer is modifying DBAN to handle hdparm, but the DBAN author hasn't responded to my email... –  vy32 Jul 26 '12 at 14:48
Luckily the source for DBAN is available. If you do manage to change that then please post it here. I would be interested in it. –  Hennes Jul 26 '12 at 15:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Parted Magic or MHDD (through FASTERASE option).

Also HDD LLF and HDD Wipe Tool.

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hdparm can do this. You will find it installed by default on many operating systems. (e.g. on FreeBSD and GNU/Linux).

Check either man hdparm or this link.

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Yes, I should have been more specific. I'll make an edit. –  vy32 Jul 25 '12 at 2:40

This is more details on using hdparm. There is a complete tutorial here: https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase Essentially, the current hdparm does not have the issues mentioned in the question. In 4 steps, you can check that secure erase can be used, issue the secure erase command and finally confirm that the secure erase is complete. A major caveat is that you should not use hdparm secure erase on USB or Firewire connected drives.

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