I purchased a broken hard drive. I copied some of my movies on it. It is broken now. I want to send it back to the factory.

I wanted to permanently delete all my files with "Sdelete" secure tool. This would take 20 hours to overwrite 4TB with random bits. My drive crashes every 10 minute, so I cannot use the command line tool.

What alternative are there to clean my data. I know formatting is not safe?

  • for example, formatting it as NTSF instead FAT 32, just corrupting the files one by one? – kristof2014 Feb 16 '16 at 10:26
  • Its a little late for most solutions. I would suggest full disk encryption but the drive will crash. Best you can do is delete the files. If you are really worried about the videos then don't send it for replacement under warranty. – Ramhound Feb 16 '16 at 12:54
  • 2
  • If it is that critical you do not want your data to be in the wrong hands, destroy the drive with a big ass 4lb hammer and buy a new drive, they are cheap these days. – Moab Feb 16 '16 at 18:01

You could de-gauss it, but if found out by the manufacturer, they may void the warranty (as it could damage the electronics), otherwise, there isn't much you can do to fully wipe the drive, especially since you can't keep it running long enough to do a 0 & 1's wipe, be even using wipe tools, its pretty hard to completely wipe modern drives properly. Gutmann's methods are antiquated nowadays, and since you want to return it to the factory, your options are limited.

Realistically, chances are, the drive will be either tossed and recycled, or repaired and wiped by the manufacturer anyways, and then used as a warranty replacement for someone else.

  • thanks for the answer wb6vpm. What about the following? I download one 1GB random ISO from the internet. I keep on multiplying the files till 4TB? Since hard drive may fail, I can unplug it, and start again multiplying. If the drive is full my original data would be (somehow) gone, right? – kristof2014 Feb 16 '16 at 12:26
  • Yes, if you fill the drive with files all other files will be overwritten, no chance of recovery now. – Moab Feb 16 '16 at 18:02
  • I wouldn't say yes, I would say, maybe/probably. The drive obviously has issues, so who knows what it's really doing. – wb6vpm Feb 17 '16 at 8:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.