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Hard Drives and Data

By dRb63 ·
An article was forwarded to me discussing how old hard drives are purchased by individuals and then they can pull information from the drives because the data wasn't removed. And then the discussion continued in the office and others about using third-party software to destroy the data prior to tossing the drive or selling the drive. But why use third-party software to do this when the utility "fdisk" is available? Once the partition is deleted, isn't all the data along with the MBR deleted?

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Still Recoverable

by TheChas In reply to Hard Drives and Data

If you only delete the partition(s), the data is still fairly easy to recover.

If you create NEW partitions of a different size than the old partition(s), you make it a LOT harder to recover the original data.

Every step that you take to change the drive from what it was before makes it harder, but not impossible, for someone to recover data from the drive.

Supposedly, if someone has the funds and desire, data can still be recovered even if you use one of the utilities that writes 1's and 0's to the drive.

As I understand it, it is possible to examine the drive platter with an electron microscope, and read the pattern of the original data on the drive.

Now, the article in question.
What was found, was that many users are either not deleteing any files, or are not doing a thourough job of deleteing data.

After not deleteing files, the second most common mistake was leaving the deleted files in the recycle bin.

Next, came doing a simple format without the /u switch.

Both of the above allow for any experianced hacker to easily recover the files on the drive.

There was a Q&A question, about a year ago, followed by an article and discussion on how to insure that the data on the drive can not be recovered.
One peer posted that he used thermite grenades to melt down a drive from a government installation to assure that the data could not be recovered.

Chas

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Really Kill A Hard Drive

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Hard Drives and Data

If you want to make sure your data is not recovered you have to totally trash the hard drive. There are a number of ways of doing this but the two easiest are:

get a huge electromagnet, like they used to use to wipe tapes with, and sit it on the hard drive and leave it turned on for an hour, do this a few times over a few days and the drive is scambled.

or get a power drill and drill a few holes through the case and through the drive disk/s,
makes it kinda hard to do anything with and can destroy data by warpeing the disk itself as you drill through it.

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