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Erasing data before selling a computer

I have just taken 8 old 250gb drives out of one of our servers. I need to securely wipe all the data on these drives, before they are decomissioned. Can anyone suggest an open source software that could do this? My idea is to mount the drive into a usb caddy, and run some kind of tool on the drive, to wipe it completely.

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marked as duplicate by quack quixote Jun 22 '10 at 7:27

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

6 Answers 6

Another option is to use TrueCrypt to completely encrypt the drive full of what will appear to be random data to the person you sell it to, who won't have the encryption key.

The advantages for you is that TrueCrypt doesn't need to work on boot drives; it can do USB flash drives as well.

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He's looking to wipe the drive, not encrypt it's contents. –  Scott Markwell Oct 28 '09 at 22:51
    
I understand that you are using TC to load randomized data to the drive, but this method is SLOW! –  Blackbeagle Oct 28 '09 at 22:53
    
Voted up because it's a perfectly valid idea for protecting access to the drive. Just because it's not DIRECTLY answering the question asked doesn't mean it doesn't have merit as a potential solution. –  Multiverse IT Oct 28 '09 at 23:00

Active@ KillDisk - Hard Drive Eraser is powerful and compact software that allows you to destroy all data on hard and floppy drives completely, excluding any possibility of future recovery of deleted files and folders. It's a hard drive and partition eraser utility.

USB Plug'n'Play devices are supported.

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a free version is available.

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The free version sucks compared to Dban! and I would rather use Dban than pay for this (which is what I did before!) –  William Hilsum Oct 28 '09 at 23:26
    
Wash your mouth, Wil! :) –  Molly7244 Oct 29 '09 at 2:57

Use the Utility that is (most likely) built into your hard drive.

According to the Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMRR) at the University of California, San Diego, every disk drive manufactured since 2001 and over 15Gb in size has a built-in wipe (erase) function that has been approved by the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), Computer Security Center.

This function is built into the drive, and it will erase ALL the sectors on the platter regardless of how the disk is formatted (unformatted areas are wiped), and regardless of whether given sectors have been marked as bad (they are wiped also)

CMRR provide a free utility that invokes the function and which should be run from a native DOS boot.

Their page at http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml includes

  • A disk wipe tutorial (this is worth reading even if you do not need to wipe a disk right now)
  • Download of the erase utility
  • The Read Me doc
  • A FAQ
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If it is going to be decommissioned for good, You can be sure of getting rid of everything sensitive by using an industrial shredder.

If you want to reuse, then I have found nothing better than Dban (Darik's Boot and Nuke).

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Darik's Boot and Nuke would probably do what you need. Don't know if it'll work with a USB caddy, but it can securely wipe any hard drive physically installed in the computer itself.

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SecureErase and Dban and others require you to boot from the disk so these only work if you have a spare machine you can mount the drives in. Manufacturers such as Seagate and Western Digital usually have DOS and Windows based programs that do have zero fill options. I'd try go to the manufacturer site.

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