[unisog] Wiping hard drives before computer transfer

Larry Sheldon lsheldon at creighton.edu
Mon Jan 27 15:47:56 GMT 2003


Ben C. said:

> We picked up a tool from Gateway called GWSCAN.  It has a very handy feature
> of writing zeros to a drive.  The upside ..it's free and available online
> (at least at one time it was online).  The downside...it takes forever..a
> 20GB drive is about 4-5 hours of work to zero.  The program is DOS based and
> should be run from a boot disk.
> 
> I've had data recovery people tell me that they know of nothing that will
> recover the data (within reason of course).  Have I been fed a line on this
> or have I figured out a good way to take care of my old drives?

For the follow care and diligence should be exercised to avoid confusing me
with somebody who actually knows what he is talking about.

For reasonable efforts to recover data that is sufficient.

But the nature of the physics is such that the data (original and zeroes)
are written in a track that is wider than what can normally be "seen" by the
heads, so the stories abouund that outfits with budgets you have never
seen like the National Seafood Association (not located in Ft. Meade, Virginia)
can take the drive apart and use techniques that recover the original
data (sometimes from each of several layers) from the platters.

This would imply that to be absolutely sure, incineration or maceration are
required.

My personal belief is that anybody that _really_ wants the data, already
has it, and probably had iit before it was written to the disc in question.

If it were my job to worry about that, I'd probably find an old-fashioned
tape degauser (looks sort of like a modern microwave or toaster oven, no heat)
and soak the drive for ten minutes and call it a day.

YMMV
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. L. F. (Larry) Sheldon, Jr.                                            .
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