RMA Harddisk wiping

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by MUmoto, Sep 2, 2011.

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  1. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    Hello people of this forum!

    My Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB disk is failing on me and I'm planning on sending it for RMA since I have standard-warranty till february 2012 but I want to make sure my 'personal effects' on the disk are completely wiped out and irrecoverable.

    To be honest with you guys 'I have videos/pictures of me and my girlfriend having sexy-time' and I don't want other people to be able to view and worse distribute!

    Can somebody give me some pointers to tools I should use and ensure me that it's 100% irrecoverable?

    By the way is the free-space wiping in CCleaner competent?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Sadeghi85

    Sadeghi85 Registered Member

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  3. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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  4. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    I've read about other tools

    Active@Killdisk
    DBAN
    Eraser

    Are they any good as well?
     
  5. dantz

    dantz Registered Member

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    Western Digital's "Data Lifeguard" diagnostic software can write zeros to the entire disk, which is pretty effective. And in fact, they might require you to do this before they will admit that the disk is defective and honor the warranty.

    Be aware that the process of writing zeros to the entire disk will sometimes revive a failing disk, but unfortunately this means that it will probably just fail again in the near future. I've gone through that with a couple of WD drives. Once they go bad they're unreliable, even if you manage to get them working again.

    But personally, if I had a failing disk that contained highly confidential unencrypted data then I would just destroy it and then dispose of the remains. Screw the warranty. Not worth the risk.

    In the future you should make use of data encryption to prevent these kinds of issues. If your data had been stored in an encrypted partition or on a fully-encrypted drive then you would have nothing to worry about.
     
  6. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    Yes I've come across that inside the application, I currently have 840gb of 931gb free on my harddisk and Eraser is currently wiping that free-space that plus wiping the entire disk with WD Data Lifeguard should do the trick right?

    Yeah funny thing is I was moving like 200GB of data to an external disk and suddenly my computer started to slow down like crazy, everything started hanging and I've been noticing Disk-related-errors in the event viewer after chkdisk this morning there haven't been anymore errors in event-viewer and no slow downs but still it doesn't pass the WD Data Lifeguard tests...

    I have seen too many people losing so much data because of encryption I rather not encrypt it, I might as well destroy my harddisk when it breaks then.
     
  7. guest

    guest Guest

    maybe you shouldn't had made the kind of video in the first place
     
  8. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    Good advice; unless you've already done so.

    I've had a dozen of IDE disks lasting over 10+ years and they've never failed on me; I replaced them for bigger drives and this SATA drive dies in like 2 years time...
    So yeah based on my previous experiences with (IDE)-harddisks I've been carefree and placed sensitive information on them thinking the drive will last a long time.
     
  9. guest

    guest Guest

    ya I was getting ready to have a yard sale and ran across several old hard drives, was going to put them in the sale but after thinking a little i have decided to put the hammer to them but it is hard to do, seems like I am just throwing away money, I'm a cheap person just don't like to give up any money, just hurts me inside, oh well I guess I just have to grin and bear it and put the hammer to good use:ouch: :ouch: :ouch:
     
  10. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    I would strongly recommend DBAN ISO. Not as strongly as a hammer though if you really are concerned about protecting your data. In hindsight, TrueCrypt full-drive encryption may have been a good choice as well. ;)
     
  11. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    @ MUmoto

    If you could upload those vids somewhere, i can take a look at them & say if they are too risque etc :) I promise not to distribute them, & wipe them straight after viewing ;)

    Seriously though, if you can NOT be 100% sure you've wiped Everything, i would just destroy it as others have suggested :thumb:
     
  12. 0strodamus

    0strodamus Registered Member

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    Very sage advice. Since you've said that the drive is failing, how can you be sure the wipe will succeed?

    Another option is to use a degausser. We use one of these where I work. However after that the drive still goes into a disk shredder which pulverizes it into little tiny bits.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  13. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    @Cloneranger: lol.

    Well data should be irrecoverable or at least extremely difficult after a 3 or 7-pass wiping scheme and do you think they would scan a consumer harddrive that deep?
     
  14. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    I agree with dantz, guest, and CloneRanger.

    Screw the warranty.

    If for no other reason than peace of mind, destroy the hard drive, eat the small financial loss, replace the drive (HDDs are cheap these days), and move on with the knowledge gained.
     
  15. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    Well true as long as it's 'alive' I can install games or whatever on them (non-important stuff) and I can use the one they send me.

    They will charge me 42 euro if I don't send it back within 30 days but that will be cheaper than 57 euro it costs in store still..

    The only problem is that I'm starting my studies this month and I don't have a job so I don't have too much cash to spend =/
     
  16. zero_Phil

    zero_Phil Registered Member

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    I used to think that a one or two pass HDD scrub was enough - until I got a little util called X-Ways Trace! Now I recommend a minimum of four passes to anybody, and preferably more if you can spare the time.
     
  17. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Are you saying this 'X-Ways Trace' was able to recover once-written data? Tell us a little about that. It would be the first time I've ever seen that and would, frankly, be fairly big news in the security community if it could routinely accomplish this.

    Did it actually recover the files? Recover file names? What exactly did this X-Ways Trace do to make you feel the need for at least four passes?
     
  18. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    I understand the $ situation, but what's worse, spending the $ or the "possibility" of others viewing your private data etc ? I think i know the answer, & what i would do, if only for 100% piece of mind :thumb:

    @ zero_Phil

    I'm with LockBox & would also like to know ?
     
  19. acuariano

    acuariano Registered Member

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    have you guys tried the HD wiping in parted magic?
     
  20. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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    Well yeah true but I really can use the $, it's only 42 euro but still I can't afford to spend too much until I find a part-time job...
     
  21. zero_Phil

    zero_Phil Registered Member

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    "Are you saying this 'X-Ways Trace' was able to recover once-written data? Tell us a little about that. It would be the first time I've ever seen that and would, frankly, be fairly big news in the security community if it could routinely accomplish this.

    Did it actually recover the files? Recover file names? What exactly did this X-Ways Trace do to make you feel the need for at least four passes?"

    I installed XP Pro on a WD SATA drive that was brand new, did a bit of surfing using I.E. and Firefox, opened a few Word docs, and viewed some jpeg images. Then I re-booted the machine and erased the c: partition using Hard Drive Shredder Pro on a single pass. Then I formatted the c: drive (NTFS) re-installed Windows and ran X-Ways Trace on the c: partition - there was all my browsing history, files accessed etc from the previous (scrubbed install) of XP! It isn't data recovery software as far as I know but the history of my activity was all there. If I recall correctly, as it was over a year ago, I did the same with a two pass scrub and it still picked everything up. You can get a limited demo of X-Ways Trace for free, try it yourself!
     
  22. x942

    x942 Guest

    Just tried it. No data recovered or found. Something tells me Hard Drive Shredder is useless or you did something wrong. I have redone the exact steps with just formatting and reinstalling windows (zero'd out the data) and nothing found.

    I would also like to point out X-Ways Trace! only pulls data from the index.dat and the dcache4.url files. Are you SURE you didn't browse anywhere before running the scan? A simple reinstall is enough (with no secure wipe) to defeat this program.
     
  23. x942

    x942 Guest

  24. MUmoto

    MUmoto Registered Member

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  25. The Seeker

    The Seeker Registered Member

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    Have you tried running SpinRite on it?
     
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