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Fast way to wipe an external HDD?



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 13th 19, 06:28 PM posted to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Kirk Bubul[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 15
Default Fast way to wipe an external HDD?

I have recently acquired 2 new WD My Passport 4 TB external hard
drives. I really like their small size, different colors, and
the fact that they get their power from the USB 3.0 cable plugged
into the USB port on my desktop - no separate power cord and
little brick to crawl around plugging into an electrical outlet.

I have three old external hard drives that I would like to
retire. The largest is 3 TB and the smallest is 1 TB. One is an
old and slow USB 2.0. I've tried using several different free
wipe programs, but all seem to require over 15 hours to do a
one-cycle wipe on the smallest drive. I'd like quicker.

Question: Is here a good free wipe program that would wipe these
external drives in less than a workday? Once wiped, I will throw
these old drives away unless someone speaks up and will pay for
the shipping charges to get them from me to them.

Thanks in advance for your help.
  #2  
Old January 13th 19, 08:34 PM posted to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
VanguardLH[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,320
Default Fast way to wipe an external HDD?

Kirk Bubul wrote:

I have recently acquired 2 new WD My Passport 4 TB external hard
drives. I really like their small size, different colors, and
the fact that they get their power from the USB 3.0 cable plugged
into the USB port on my desktop - no separate power cord and
little brick to crawl around plugging into an electrical outlet.

I have three old external hard drives that I would like to
retire. The largest is 3 TB and the smallest is 1 TB. One is an
old and slow USB 2.0. I've tried using several different free
wipe programs, but all seem to require over 15 hours to do a
one-cycle wipe on the smallest drive. I'd like quicker.

Question: Is here a good free wipe program that would wipe these
external drives in less than a workday? Once wiped, I will throw
these old drives away unless someone speaks up and will pay for
the shipping charges to get them from me to them.

Thanks in advance for your help.


You could get a precision torx screwdriver set (or a bit set to use in a
hex bit screwdriver shaft) to open the HDD case and remove the platters.
I think a set cost me about $8 that had the #4, #5, #5.5, #6, #7, #8,
and #9 tip sizes.

https://www.amazon.com/Tamper-Proof-.../dp/B0002SPICU
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-8-...381H/302735271
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Channell...P-5A/206262083
and here's a monster precision bit kit for just $9:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/45in1-Tor...Tool/158339402
(a search on "precision torx set" at walmart.com finds lots of choices)

Basically I needed a set of much smaller torx bits than came in a couple
of mega-piece screwdriver kits. While there are security torx bolts
that require a hole in the middle of the bit, look at your HDD and it
probably has just simple (no-security) torx bolt heads. I got a set of
precision torx screwdrivers because I couldn't tell just by looking
which size was needed.

After salvaging parts out of the HDD, toss the case and ancilliary
hardware and keep the platters as non-insulating mirror-shiny coasters,
something like mounted deer/moose heads on the wall. The magnets inside
are damn strong but but they can be so well-glued or pressed into an
assembly that you can't get them out.

If you want to later discard the platters, just run a magnet over them
in random patterns while rotating the platters. Not many users have
deguassing coils (CRTs faded away a long time ago). If you don't trust
a magnet, put a grinding wheel or wire-brush wheel ($3-$5) in a electric
hand drill and destroy up the coating.

Since you would run a software wipe when you're not around, like when
sleeping, why not erase and then donate to the Goodwill (call them to
check if they take this stuff) or ask your neighbors if they or their
kids would like the USB HDDs. You don't have to be at the computer
during the erase, and the erase doesn't preclude your use of your
computer during the erase.

You could sell it on Craigslist for, say $3 (a little higher if you want
to filter out more unreliable responses). Don't advertize in their Free
category as you get lots of calls from kooks and the majority of
appointments for pickup for free stuff are no-shows, so you waste your
time being around at the pickup time. When they come to pick it up then
just give it to them for free. Don't dole out your phone number in the
Craigslist ad as there are folks using Craigslist to harvest phone
numbers. Use a temporary e-mail address or an e-mail alias (e.g.,
spamgourmet.com) specific to only that Craigslist ad, and ONLY
communicate via e-mail (say that in the ad to avoid some of the
harvesters and eliminate the texters that can try to harvest you that
way). When the ad is over, kill the temporary e-mail account (be polite
to the provider) or kill the e-mail alias. Don't give out your true
e-mail address!

Note: Craiglist eventually adopted Spamgourmet for their e-mail
aliasing system: replies go back through the aliasing system instead
of direct from your client that could expose your true e-mail address.
It works for the sellers to hide their true e-mail address but I'm not
sure if inquiries sent by potential buyers get aliased.
  #3  
Old January 13th 19, 10:15 PM posted to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Computer Nerd Kev
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 66
Default Fast way to wipe an external HDD?

Kirk Bubul wrote:
I have recently acquired 2 new WD My Passport 4 TB external hard
drives. I really like their small size, different colors, and
the fact that they get their power from the USB 3.0 cable plugged
into the USB port on my desktop - no separate power cord and
little brick to crawl around plugging into an electrical outlet.


Hopefully it's not as picky about cable make/length as the USB 2.0
USB-powered drive that I use. That's an old WD 320GB one though. I
back up all my computers onto it in duplicate and still have plenty
of room, no idea what most individuals need TB drives for.

I have three old external hard drives that I would like to
retire. The largest is 3 TB and the smallest is 1 TB. One is an
old and slow USB 2.0. I've tried using several different free
wipe programs, but all seem to require over 15 hours to do a
one-cycle wipe on the smallest drive. I'd like quicker.

Question: Is here a good free wipe program that would wipe these
external drives in less than a workday? Once wiped, I will throw
these old drives away unless someone speaks up and will pay for
the shipping charges to get them from me to them.


If you're tossing them, you could just go for the old "drill a hole
through it" method. If your data was important enough for someone
to analyse the remains of the platters in a lab, you wouldn't be
worried about waiting a few hours.

Sticking with electronic methods, you basically wait as long as
you want depending on how secure you want the erasure to be. If you
have a complicated partition layout on there, simply writing random
data to the partition table before reformatting would be enough to
make it darn annoying for anyone trying to recover the data easily.
In Linux this could be done easily with "dd".

To write over everything you're just going to be limited to the
speed of the drives. If you're adventurous you could pull apart
the enclosures to see if the drives themselves are actually SATA
and plugged into a SATA-USB adapter. In that case using the
direct SATA connection may make things go faster.

With "dd" there'd also be nothing to stop you picking random bits
of the drive to write over and leaving the rest alone, if you so
desired. It would be a funny approach, but it's the only way to
improve speed if data throughput is the bottleneck.

Oh, except some drives do come with built-in erasure routines
in their own firmware that can be triggered by software released
by the drive manufacturer. That would sure be quicker because the
random data to write is generated by the drive itself, it doesn't
need to come from the computer. It's only some drives though, I've
never had a chance to try it myself.

--
__ __
#_ |\| | _#
  #4  
Old January 14th 19, 08:35 PM posted to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Grant Taylor
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1
Default Fast way to wipe an external HDD?

On 1/13/19 10:28 AM, Kirk Bubul wrote:
Question: Is here a good free wipe program that would wipe these external
drives in less than a workday? Once wiped, I will throw these old drives
away unless someone speaks up and will pay for the shipping charges to
get them from me to them.

Thanks in advance for your help.


I think there are some utilities that can give the drive a command to
write zeros (or otherwise) erase itself. Hopefully you can give the
drive the command and then otherwise ignore it for a while and then
check it's status later. The key being the drive does the erasing, not
your computer over the slower USB 2.0 interface.

It's not DoD grade erasure (I digress), but it will prevent casual users
from accessing the data.



--
Grant. . . .
unix || die
  #5  
Old January 15th 19, 04:02 AM posted to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
VanguardLH[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,320
Default Fast way to wipe an external HDD?

Grant Taylor wrote:

On 1/13/19 10:28 AM, Kirk Bubul wrote:
Question: Is here a good free wipe program that would wipe these external
drives in less than a workday? Once wiped, I will throw these old drives
away unless someone speaks up and will pay for the shipping charges to
get them from me to them.

Thanks in advance for your help.


I think there are some utilities that can give the drive a command to
write zeros (or otherwise) erase itself. Hopefully you can give the
drive the command and then otherwise ignore it for a while and then
check it's status later. The key being the drive does the erasing, not
your computer over the slower USB 2.0 interface.

It's not DoD grade erasure (I digress), but it will prevent casual users
from accessing the data.


https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-secure-erase-2626004

I remember the HDDerase program (to issue the Secure Erase command
directly to the ATA drive) but it is no longer available (get "page not
found" at http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml). While
there are some generic tools to do a Secure Erase, maybe you're expected
to now use a utility from the drive manufacturer.

https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebas...ID=1211#windlg

WDC has an erase function in their Data Lifeguard software; however,
when I read its instructions, it seems it does a logical erase (because
it is showing progress) rather than issuing a Secure Erase (which
doesn't need any monitoring although I suppose that would be handy to
inform the user when the Secure Erase got completed). Seagate has their
SeaTools and Samsung has their Magician but they aren't clear if they
issue the Secure Erase command or perform a logical erase where software
is required to perform each write.

If you are using whole-disk encryption, you don't have to erase at all.
No one else is going to have the passphrase to unlock (decrypt) the
drive. For example:

https://www.seagate.com/tech-insight...ive-master-ti/
(all it does is change the encryption key [to an unknown random value]
so neither you nor anyone else can decrypt the drive)

A Secure Erase is still going to be slow. It still takes time to write
zero bits everywhere on the disk. It only does a one-pass write of
zeros. While not the greatest method for secure erase (one pass of
zeros, one pass of ones, and then a pass of random bits is better),
there is definitely no reason to use the insane Gutmann method which
applied only to the ancient RLL drives and not to today's drive.

A set of precision torx screwdrivers, dismantling the HDD and removing
the platters, and grinding the platters will take a hell of lot less
time than a logical wipe or using Secure Erase.
  #6  
Old Yesterday, 04:18 PM posted to comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Filip454
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4
Default Fast way to wipe an external HDD?

On 2019-01-13 18:28, Kirk Bubul wrote:
I have recently acquired 2 new WD My Passport 4 TB external hard
drives. I really like their small size, different colors, and
the fact that they get their power from the USB 3.0 cable plugged
into the USB port on my desktop - no separate power cord and
little brick to crawl around plugging into an electrical outlet.

I have three old external hard drives that I would like to
retire. The largest is 3 TB and the smallest is 1 TB. One is an
old and slow USB 2.0. I've tried using several different free
wipe programs, but all seem to require over 15 hours to do a
one-cycle wipe on the smallest drive. I'd like quicker.

Question: Is here a good free wipe program that would wipe these
external drives in less than a workday? Once wiped, I will throw
these old drives away unless someone speaks up and will pay for
the shipping charges to get them from me to them.

Thanks in advance for your help.


I would suggest buying an USB 3.0 enclosure for that USB 2.0 drive. You
will get practically a new HDD.
 




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