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Computer Help & Chat

Get help with computer-related problems, or just chat about hardware, software, emulation, programming, networking, smartphones/tablets or pretty much any other computer topic.
how do I wipeout my hard drive?
Posted: Posted December 18th, 2016
Edited December 18th, 2016 by Furtive

Like completely destroy everything with out running the risk someone could salvage the information? Is there a proper way to do it? I have an ancient laptop I want to get rid of but I dont know the right way about it.


Im considering drilling a hole through the harddrive and submerging it in water.



There are 5 Replies

Water doesn't actually do much.

Drilling holes in it is decent. Physical removal of material plus heat damage.

Take an angle grinder to it, if you have one. Best thing would probably just be dropping it in acid.

Posted December 18th, 2016 by nullfather
nullfather

Yea the only way to be completely certain is to destroy the hard drive. Drilling holes should be sufficient.

There are some methods that leave the hard drive intact, but there's a never a guarantee with those that it won't leave some readable data.

Posted December 18th, 2016 by Moonray
Moonray
 

Like these guys said, physical destruction is the best way to ensure the data will never be recovered.

However (and others here might disagree), unless you're hiding something from someone with tremendous amounts of resources at their disposal (like, say, homeland security), I'm of the opinion that a 3-pass wipe with a bootable USB drive with DBAN would be more than enough to stop 99.999999% of the world's population from snooping.

Posted December 25th, 2016 by Jo Nathan Joestar
Jo Nathan Joestar
 

Is it possible to wipe the HDD clean through command prompt? Like the Clean All command, or something that sets the drive back to all 0s? Or will that be unstable if the PC booted from the drive?

If there's a way to plug the drive into a new computer, you can certainly wipe the drive and revert everything back to 0. It's not a format, reformatting can still retain the original information. But after this, yeah, physical damage will be good.

Posted December 25th, 2016 by mariomguy
mariomguy
What up, 1-up

Not sure if Windows comes with one, but SDelete from Sysinternals is a command-line utility that can be used to securely delete files, or securely wipe free space in a drive. I don't think it can outright nuke an entire drive though (edit: maybe it can? I've only ever used it to wipe free space so I'm not 100% sure), unless it's a non-system drive with 100% free space.

Of course such a task is trivial with the dd utility in Linux. I used this method on servers at my previous job when we had to sell or otherwise dispose of everything in preparation for going out of business.

Edited December 25th, 2016 by Jo Nathan Joestar
Jo Nathan Joestar
 
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