“How to REALLY erase a hard drive”

ZDNet has a couple of postings about how to delete a hard drive (see “How to REALLY erase a hard drive” and “How to REALLY erase a hard drive – Update“). There is lots of talk about how best to delete the data on a hard drive so it is unrecoverable. You may want to give a hard drive away to a friend or another good cause, but you don’t want anyone to retrieve the sensitive data that may have been on the hard drive.

Here is how the Storage Bits blog describes it:

Something called Secure Erase, a set of commands embedded in most ATA drives built since 2001. If this is so wonderful, why haven’t you heard of it before? Because it’s been disabled by most motherboard BIOSes.

Secure Erase is a loaded gun aimed right at all your data. And Murphy’s Law is still in force. But hey, if you’re smart enough to read Storage Bits, you’re smart enough to not play with Secure Erase until you need to.

How does Secure Erase work?
Secure Erase overwrites every single track on the hard drive. That includes the data on “bad blocks”, the data left at the end of partly overwritten blocks, directories, everything. There is no data recovery from Secure Erase.

I had never heard of this, but it sure sounds interesting. If you are going to be giving away a hard drive, it would be a good idea to read these postings and try the software mentioned.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: