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1 • RE:"Securely erasing hard drives" (by Tux Raider on 2019-03-04 00:32:16 GMT from United States) |
i recently bought a new PC that had windows-10 on it, i tried it out for a day, updated the OS and defraged the disk which was a huge one terabite spinning platter type drive,. i will say after using Linux on a solid state drive then going back to windows on a spinning platter was just an awful experience, the thoughtput and response of win10 on a spinning platter was just too annoying to tolerate, so i powered the PC down and unplugged the drive and put in a new 250 gig ssd that reads & writes about 500 megabites a second, put a fresh copy of my favorite distro on it and it was sweet as homemade icecream :)
when i need the storage space for data or whatever i will take that big drive with win10 on it and wipe the whole thing with sgdisk --zap-all /dev/### then create a new partition table and file system and use it for data storage because spinning platter drives are just too slow to run an operating system on, but they are great for storage since they have so much storage space i dont think there will be any recoverable data on that drive after sgdisk and fdisk gets done with it, shred is just a time waster
2 • Removing data from | checking for bad sectors in old hard drives (by Dojnow on 2019-03-04 00:56:35 GMT from Bulgaria)
mkfs.ext4 -ccv /dev/sdX[n] which uses badblocks with writing patterns 55h, AAh, FFh, 00h or quicker dd
3 • Not A Shred Of Evidence (by Vern on 2019-03-04 01:08:58 GMT from United States)
I use the hammer method. I don't want my hard drive out in the wild. I tried in the past several shredding programs, then tried to find data afterwards, which their were many.
4 • Jordan (by Jordan on 2019-03-04 01:28:08 GMT from United States)
I have them all. Some of those huge, small capacity ones from the early 90s. I have them all?
My god I have them all. :oD
5 • Removing data from old hard drives (by Newby on 2019-03-04 02:16:24 GMT from Canada)
There is yet another method I recall reading in a technical paper eons ago by using the linux hdparm tool for dealing with hard drives.
Looking at the hdparm manpage, there is a flag: --security-erase-enhanced PWD.
The manpage does point out it is a "dangerous" command, so only experiment on a drive you consider "expendable" in the name of scientific curiousity.
At this point, no recollection where I read the original paper, but the general idea was, instead of overwriting multiple times with external software, the drive's own firmware was capable of writing an "eye-pattern" over each track, effectively wiping data faster and more effectively.
If anyone can shed any more light on this, it does tie-in with this week's question.
Also recall some amazing videos of the lengths people will go to, to destroy their drives. From drilling holes, to running them over with a steam-roller. Personally, I remove the platter, expose it to a bulk demagnitizer, then sand/grind down the magnetic coating. Suppose it might be fun to use hdparm to low-level format the drive, then populate it with some incredible fake data supporting your favourite conspiracy theory, then send the drive out into the "wild" and see what transpires......
(I do hope people have sense of humour and don't see fit to delete this post. No bits were harmed, and it really doesn't deserve ending up in /dev/null)
6 • Removing data from old hard drives (by Eraser on 2019-03-04 02:58:56 GMT from United States)
I've used the secure erase programs on Parted Magic with success.
7 • destroy or wipe? (by Titus_Groan on 2019-03-04 03:46:03 GMT from New Zealand)
physically destroy when toetagged!
or keep forever, for reuse if removed due to upgrade, ie, as bulk remove-able storage, image backups... etc.
or if I really need WindowsX, I will reinstall the drive without internet for the duration of use.
8 • Condre OS (by Andy Prough on 2019-03-04 04:04:47 GMT from United States)
The review is pretty funny, just in terms of all the things that don't work.
But my bigger question is - how is this considered a separate distro? It's Arch with Arch's package manager and Arch's repository with a few uncommon apps thrown into the mix. There's nothing about Arch that would prevent a user from coming up with this exact mix of software. It's some kind of a respin, but it doesn't really seem like a distro in itself.
I like how GeckoLinux is described on Distrowatch: "GeckoLinux is a Linux spin based on the openSUSE distribution"
Things like Condre, which have no real differences other than default software choice from their parent distribution, should be referred to as spins or respins in my opinion.
9 • To remove data or destroy media? (by Mikey on 2019-03-04 04:10:46 GMT from United States)
'Hammer Time' sounds like a lot of fun, as long as you don't smash your thumb. Writing over a large capacity drive just takes to darn long, and wastes electricity. The preferred method up here on the North Road includes a little target practice. Long live open source. My thanks to the developers and community.
10 • #5 - Removing data from old hard drives (by Andy Prough on 2019-03-04 04:17:06 GMT from United States)
There's a wicki that was written in 2013 that gives a step-by-step procedure for using hdparm --security-erase. Search "ATA Secure Erase" with your favorite search engine and you should find it pretty quickly.
The feature is not without it's problems though. There are several things that can cause your secure erase to fail, or that can prevent your drive from attempting it. Also, from what I'm reading it's not really that much faster in a lot of cases.
11 • Hard Drive Destruction (by Ben Myers on 2019-03-04 04:57:21 GMT from Canada)
Take an electric drill, put in a 1/4" drill bit made to drill in metal. Drill numerous holes completely through the hard drive you want to destroy. This will discourage all but the craziest people from trying to read the remains of the drive. Far faster than using software and uses less electricity.
Many years ago, this method was used by Raytheon to render hard disks useless, and it probably met government security requirements back then. The Raytheon people went a bit further, not just a drill bit, either. They were lazy, so they drilled through the entire computer chassis making sure they they drilled thru the hard drive.
If drilling through a drive is not good enough for you, take the drive to a recycling operation with a drive shredder and watch your drive get shredded. This is only for the truly paranoid, many governments, and people trying to destroy evidence of criminality.
12 • Destroying hard driver (by denflen on 2019-03-04 05:30:33 GMT from United States)
@11...I got nothing to add. You said it all! Why take chances?
13 • I would rather use it as a paper weight than throw a hard drive away. (by Roy on 2019-03-04 06:34:29 GMT from United States)
I mean they stack real easy and don't take up much space.
14 • Destroying HDD (by zephyr on 2019-03-04 06:57:23 GMT from United States)
When it comes time to dispose of a hard drive use my BBQ grill, heat at approx 400F for 30 minutes does the job, no way of salvaging data. Have only done this a couple of times for a daily driver, others just toss.
15 • the shredder (by tonight i dine on turtle soup on 2019-03-04 07:21:59 GMT from Sweden)
@11 Everything you didn't drill a hole through is recoverable. Much easier, and far less effort, to run shred/dd over it once or twice.
The Arch Wiki has a good section on hdd wiping:
Worth noting that SSD/flash drives are a different kettle of fish to traditional spinning disk hdds. Manufacturer "secure erase" functions have been shown to be buggy, btw.
Personally, I dd random data, then dd zeros, then open up the physical drive (grab some TORX screwdrivers on ebay for a pittance) and dispose of the individual platters week by week in my municipal garbage pickup.
Paranoid? lol yes. But it's fun to play super spy (if it was boring you wouldn't be reading this! Caught you!) and flex my technical know-how/pull machines apart.
Before anyone mentions a full guttman 35, Guttman himself has said it's overkill on modern deivces:
16 • the shredder (by tonight i dine on turtle soup on 2019-03-04 07:25:01 GMT from Sweden)
sorry, than lust like for Guymann should have been
17 • Removing data from old hard drives (by Someguy on 2019-03-04 07:50:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
I use an assembler listing under debug. Just a dozen simple lines to type, couple of minutes, works every time. I run it under DOS from a floppy disc on an old chassis. Hands up all those who subscribe to the misguided view that the floppy drive is/was dead! If you're suspicious about infiltration of your data, why not suspicious of a trade determined to sell you stuff you don't need? Why aren't schools teaching assembler instead of how to type a Word document? Someone's got to programme at bit level !
18 • Arch Linux installers (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2019-03-04 08:17:45 GMT from United States)
I've tried most of the "Arch made easy" distros and I've pretty much settled on ArcoLinuxD plus my own bash scripts. ArcoLinux is a fascinating project. It started out as a fork of ArchLabs, but now they're a combination Arch wrapper and online course in the Arch way.
Before ArcoLinux I was mostly running Antergos. Every so often one of their monthly releases was broken and I'd end up going to an older one. But they have their own installer, and ArcoLinux uses Calamares.
19 • Condres (by Dennis on 2019-03-04 08:28:31 GMT from New Zealand)
I had a bit better experience than the review test. Installed the Cinnamon version on a small laptop and it does get updates, but sonn little things break. Octopi's icon in the bottom panel vanished at some point. It works. Its an Arch (Like Ubuntu or Mint are a Debian). But soon either Manjaro or Mint are going to go back onto that little laptop - a spare that goes places if I have a quick presentation or something.
Disks - someplace in several crates around the garage, must lurk some drives. One problem I do have is some encrypted backup CDs I made back under Win98(?) - and I can't even offhand recall the name of the software. Problem is to crack them open to retrieve the data. Any tips? Tools in Kali or Parrot?
20 • HDD erace (by cholo on 2019-03-04 08:31:29 GMT from Canada)
If It's still useable I just run D-Ban and then format.
21 • Hard drive end-of-life (by John Gray on 2019-03-04 09:16:25 GMT from United Kingdom)
@#1 Tux Raider
I am not sure of the logic of comparing the relative speed of [Windows 10 with a conventional spinning-disk hard drive] and [a Linux distribution on an SSD]. In my experience WIndows 10 on an SSD starts up within seconds. ANYTHING using an SSD starts within seconds!
Re-imaging WIndows 10 to an SSD can usually be done within an hour.
In the EU and thus the UK (still) we have a protocol called WEEE. "The European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) applies to a wide range of electronic and electrical products. WEEE encourages the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment."
It can take many hours to securely erase the contents of a hard drive by writing data to it, perhaps performing several passes. Our local WEEE recycler quite justifiably considers it an utter waste of computer time to erase any hard drive, so sends them (securely) to a certified metals recovery firm which puts the disk drives into an industrial shredder (yes!) which turns the drive into, well, shreds! Precious metals and base metals are then recovered from what is produced.
22 • Removing data from old hard drives (by Jim on 2019-03-04 09:49:37 GMT from United States)
If the computer was done for, I destroy the hard drive. If the computer still had usefulness, I wiped it with DBAN (Darik's Boot And Nuke) usually at least twice. It does take some time.
23 • TLP (by jan on 2019-03-04 10:01:47 GMT from Poland)
Between 2010 - 2015 I had TLP running OK in Xubuntu on my Think Pad. Since 2015 I use Lenovo Z70-80 running Xubuntu and since kernel 4.15 I stopped using TLP, as it seems that the Linux kernel itself can now take good care of the energy management tasks. I found that since 4.17 power management (processor (i7) and battery life) have improved, and my laptop works practically noiselessly. So could anybody tell me if is there is still any meritin using TLP with the most recent kernels today?
24 • RE:"Hard drive end-of-life" @#21 (by Tux Raider on 2019-03-04 10:04:52 GMT from United States)
i wont throw the drive away, it still useful for data storage, i will use it to store source code and compiled packages, movies and music, videos of various types, and i have a large collection of old radio shows from the 1920's through the 1950s, before television was common people would sit and listen to radio programs
and as far as windows-10 goes, i dont want it, its too big bloated and it spys on its users, windows 10 is basically a spammy marketing tool disguised as an operating system, microsoft does not respect people's privacy they are basically as immoral as facebook
25 • Condres (by Tim on 2019-03-04 10:19:40 GMT from United States)
Thanks for doing a review of Condres, I’ve been curious for a while. I’m completely happy with Ubuntu MATE but I’d love to have a similar experience with multiple base distros just for curiosity or if something ever changes drastically and makes me want to hop again. Hopefully they can sort out these early bugs!
26 • Wiping data (by RTL on 2019-03-04 11:18:53 GMT from Hungary)
I don't get why using any of these methods are better than simply deleting them (only the file allocation table is deleted?), or overwriting the whole thing with /dev/null. Does it actually overwrite the whole thing multiple times, so not even a single memory of past data remain?
27 • RE:#26 Wiping Data (by Tux Raider on 2019-03-04 11:42:14 GMT from United States)
i agree, those disk wiping tools are just overkill just delete and create the partition table and make a new partition & filesystem which takes less than a minute and nobody is going to find anything from the previous partition,
28 • if you are really paranoid about your data (by Tux Raider on 2019-03-04 11:50:00 GMT from United States)
you can always get a plasma cutter or an acetylene cutting torch and turn those drives in to slag, or bury them in the ground and planet a tree over it
or do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sATeFlLk-Y
29 • Condres OS (by Calogero on 2019-03-04 11:55:37 GMT from Italy)
@25 @Jesse Smith Thanks to the reporting of Jesse Smith we have solved the problem concerning octopi. Thanks also to those who tested Condres and noticed the error of the encrypted partitions that did not start at boot. Finally we have solved the annoying bugs concerning the condres-control-center that required the root password to access, of course, just press cancel until we have released the new iso images. Here the announcement https://condresos.codelinsoft.it/index.php/blog/stable-update-2019-02-23-kernels-browsers-cryptsetup
30 • destroying data (by MikeOh Shark on 2019-03-04 12:12:33 GMT from Ukraine)
At my former employer, we had a PC with an open side just for deleting data on hard drives. I'd boot from a floppy with the hard drive installed as the only hard drive. I'd let it run all week while it wrote all zeros, all ones, alternate 0 and 1 then 1 and 0, etc.
The employer instituted a destroy hard drive ISO policy. They required crushing hard drives in a vise, then opening the case, grinding the platters, etc.
When they closed our location, leaving 100+ computers to dispose of, they ignored their own policies and just reformatted each PC with a reinstall of Windows (whichever version came with the PC).
My take, destruction of data takes secondary concern to the desire to get a few bucks for used hardware when executives make the decision instead of IT people. :(
31 • What criminal organizations do you guys work for anyway? (by CS on 2019-03-04 12:58:20 GMT from United States)
Only governments have the resources to recover data that has been securely deleted using any of the wiki pages cited. Even the stupid "Just Reinstall Windows" method mentioned is going to make it unlikely anyone would bother rolling the dice to see if they get something good. Nobody cares about your porn stash. There are easier ways for Russians to get credit card numbers. If you do have a hard drive with state secrets, hand it over to your dedicated security department for secure disposal.
If you're running Silk Road -- maybe secure deletion is for you. But the feds will take great pains to capture your system while it's powered on. The story of how they snagged that guy's laptop in the library is a good read.
32 • erasing hard drive with dd (by Mark on 2019-03-04 13:27:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Surely, if you write all zeros to a hard drive (using dd if=/dev/zero) then isn't that enough? If anyone looks on the drive all they'll find is zeros. (Perhaps not so with SSDs, but with spinning disks.) Or am I missing something? Has anyone ever recovered files from a zeroed-out disk?
33 • Data on hard drives, sticky notes, refrigerator magnets, calendars, napkins.. (by Jordan on 2019-03-04 13:54:33 GMT from United States)
..wet concrete, etc.
So what do I never want other people to see? My passwords have always been long, random nonsense mixes of everything on the keyboard. I don't care who knows my address and phone number as I used a white list for incoming calls and my number and address are in the phone book anyway.
Ummm... drilling holes through old hard drives? What are you guys putting on your hard drives.
34 • erasing hard drives (by Rick on 2019-03-04 14:03:37 GMT from United States)
DBAN when at clients since I can boot, execute and leave within 5 minutes. What they do after not my concern. Alternative, disassemble in 15 minutes, they get the platter, I get the magnets. The rest, not my concern.
As for how good is just writing zero's? I kind of agree with @31. It takes expensive resources to overcome rewriting, drilling holes, BBQ. It can be done, but who is going to bother.
35 • secure delete (by Friar Tux on 2019-03-04 14:05:44 GMT from Canada)
I've only done this twice so far but I love using Mjolnir and a steel plate. (I have a sledge hammer with a short 'regular' hammer handle I call Mjolnir (the name of Thor's hammer) After two or three good whacks 'ain't nobody gonna read dat ting'.
36 • Drive Disposal (by Linux G on 2019-03-04 14:27:22 GMT from United States)
We went to the local tool store and purchased about $400 worth of tools and built our own pneumatic drive pulverizer. The federal specs for my industry requires drive pulverization and the requirements are pretty unbelievable, but our new machine is very consistent and works well. It might not be instant, but its definitely faster then waiting 2 days for a drive eraser to do its job. Also, it might not be free, but considering what the recyclers wanted to do the job, well we saved $ on the very first use.
37 • RE: 33. i agree (by Tux Raider on 2019-03-04 14:32:58 GMT from United States)
passwords, or credit card numbers, you would be surprised what browser profile data will hold, identity theft is possible with the data left in browser profiles, i dont let go of hard drives, i will use them either for redundant data storage or if they quit working i will open them up and take out the magnets.
38 • phone (by dogma on 2019-03-04 15:29:06 GMT from United States)
I sure hope the pinephone effort turns out well.
I’ve been following the librem 5 somewhat as well, but it’s a lot of money, and so much of purism’s communication has been so shallow, self-loving, and marketing-led that it has left me with a bad taste.
39 • ddrescue (by David on 2019-03-04 16:11:32 GMT from United States)
For in-house re-use of non-super-sensitive data: #ddrescue /dev/zero /dev/sdX ddrescue.log
ddrescue's big advantage: Even on drives with bad sectors this will zero out the good sectors. Many other tools just quit on the first error.
If the drive is old or failing, ddrescue as above then disassemble the drive then recycle the parts. Sure, any professional cleanroom could probably recover data from sectors ddrescue didn't touch and the FBI might be able to recover even more, but that's okay.
For drives with super-sensitive data: Sorry, I'm not cleared to discuss that matter here.
I also use ddrescue for its intended purpose of making a reasonably fast "best effort" sector-copy of drives with bad sectors.
40 • Removing data from old hard drives (by Laura on 2019-03-04 16:37:53 GMT from United States)
I generally use shred and then perhaps dd. After that I find that drilling through the drive a couple of times then beating it with a 5# hammer is satisfying on many levels. Makes me feel well vented!
41 • encrypted disks (by r on 2019-03-04 17:13:23 GMT from Netherlands)
Most harddrives i have are encrypted just in case i get burgled. But when i do want to re-purpose a harddrive, i simply `dd` it with /dev/zero, then reformat it. As the drives are already encrypted with LUKS, they don't really need to be wiped as such.
42 • badblocks Has Been Deprecated (by donnie on 2019-03-04 17:28:25 GMT from United States)
Hey, Jesse. Just so you'll know, the "badblocks" page that you referenced is for Red Hat Enterprise 4, which is ancient. Nowadays, badblocks has been deprecated, due to its inability to work with modern large-capacity hard drives. Here's the reference:
43 • Drive wiping (by dragonmouth on 2019-03-04 17:31:04 GMT from United States)
I refurbish PCs for fun and profit. Of the 100 or so PCs I've played with ONLY ONE had its Hard drive destroyed with percussive maintenance. All the other HDs were not destroyed, or wiped, or encrypted. I found all kinds of data - personal, financial, medical, music, all kinds of porno, legal and illegal. Had I wished, I could have made a lot of money from blackmail or identity theft. What I read in these posts and what I see out in the wild just does not jibe.
44 • Removing data from old hard drives... (by Vukota on 2019-03-04 18:00:10 GMT from Serbia)
@11 and @40 describes my process very well. If I have working computer where I can plug drive, I use process as @40, if not I use just @11.
On top of that, I use hard drive encryption on some drives and then I am not so paranoid.
What I have secret on drives? At minimum passwords/logins, CC#s, SN#s, bank accounts, other confidential numbers. On top of that I may have customer's data that is not supposed to get leaked. So yes, I take good care of these and sleep well at night. Anyone who thinks I am paranoid is naive and doesn't know how easy is to get your confidential data.
45 • Old Drives (by M.Z. on 2019-03-04 18:07:05 GMT from United States)
I generally agree with @31, and have most of my old drives sitting in a tucked away location. By the time I'm done with them they are generally too small to be of any value, though I may use them to make a backup of stuff. And of course there is no secret information on them. If I had gigabytes of .LAS files that could be processed into info about emergency management centers, the space center, or military bases it would be one thing, but I left all the important LiDAR data I've worked on with their source. Who is really dying for old term papers so much they'll break in & swipe a few old drives?
The reality is a bit more like the old XKCD on security:
It's especially relevant if you mouse over the image & check the tooltip. :)
46 • week review - ICE (by Christian on 2019-03-04 18:58:15 GMT from Brazil)
"Personally this is not a feature I find useful"
ICE comes from the best overall distro available (IMO) - Peppermint OS. I find it is very useful, actually, I consider it to be a killer feature. I can't believe there are so many distros out there and so few take advantage of that incredible tool.
I use it, for example, with WhatsApp and Trello. They work just as like native applications, much easier to alt-tab then going through open tabs. Even better, if you're using ICE with firefox, each "app" work within a firefox container, adding a bonus privacy "feature".
ICE is way better to use then those electron apps.
47 • Old Hard Drives (by Andy Figueroa on 2019-03-04 21:18:33 GMT from United States)
They make cute clocks with the cover off.
48 • Hard Drive Destruction (by Ron on 2019-03-04 21:28:01 GMT from United States)
I remove the Drive's disk platters and install onto my angle grinder instead of sandpaper. Much better than 0000 sandpaper!
49 • HDD (by John on 2019-03-04 22:12:46 GMT from Australia)
dd + Drill + Fire
50 • miyo (by lean&mean on 2019-03-05 00:49:09 GMT from United States)
so glad my daily driver, light weight MIYO has been added to wait list...highly customizable, with deb pkg mgmt and sysV, it is WAY more stable than some distros on the active list. mine with openbox idles around 160mb ram. try it...
51 • Miyo & Mx18 (by bobtron on 2019-03-05 01:37:59 GMT from United States)
Greetings & G'day @50 I agree...I have been running MIYO and it works well running installed on USB memory stick also i like MX18.1 full install (I liked Antix and MX since 14)...working well..daily driver dittos (me too)..TNX
52 • Destroy data (by Dhoni on 2019-03-05 04:15:25 GMT from Indonesia)
Using DD is fast end easy.. and a big plus is i can sell old drive of some money..
53 • Removing data from old hard drives (by Newby on 2019-03-05 05:14:14 GMT from Canada)
@10 Andy Prough - Thanks. Using that search term provided the answers I was looking for, although no reference to the original research paper and eye-pattern overwriting.
@48 Ron - That's the spirit! As per my comment 05, if you remove the platters (just takes a few minutes) and grind away the magnetic coating, there's nothing left on the platter to read (by ANY method). The resulting magnetic dust will just be a powder with a random magnetic distribution better than any encryption method, with the added benefit there is no hope of EVER reassembling the particles in a readable form short of inventing a working time reverser.
Re the software solutions given, the theoretical weakness is, if you don't overwrite each track multiple times, there is a "guard tolerance" on both sides of each track, and yes, with some determination, you MIGHT be able to recover SOME data, even if the track has been overwritten. The supposed advantage of hdparm's secure delete, is the eye-pattern delete sweeps the head across the width of the track (from guard band to guard band) controlled by the firmware. This way you don't need to do a gazillion overwrites.
If you are dealing with enterprise or government level data (containing legal, medical, financial data, etc), you have to be paranoid and respect the users data and privacy (ignoring for this example cases of corporate/Facebook-style abuse). Of course, some of the OTHER methods mentioned seem to be way more fun. Just wondering if we couldn't modify the catapult we use to fire clay pigeons for skeet and trap shooting, to fling hard drives instead. Those platters would also make good reflectors for mirror telescopes (except you need the hole in the middle to be on the front element, not the rear reflector). If you can't use them for scopes, they do make handy emergency signalling mirrors to include in your "bug-out" survival kit. A little creative use of a grinder can also turn them into oriental style weapons. Stick a platter over each ear and replace a "tin hat". Stick one over each eye, and look like that creature from the TV show The Outer Limits (Actually, the prop department probably resorted to sticking a poached egg over each of the actor's eyes for that effect). As usual, trying to have fun with a "serious" subject is just going to get me in more trouble....(first sign of the dreaded, uncurable "computeritis")
54 • Removing That Data (by Pierre on 2019-03-05 05:30:32 GMT from Australia)
with the HDDs getting even more capacity,
& it's now taking too long to securely erase anything,
unless you are an big company / Gov't Dept. ..
the drill some hole(s) is the quickest method,
as anything too physical is too much effort,, like smashing things.
- an vice is easier to do, if you have no drill available.
55 • Removing Data From HDD (by Paul on 2019-03-05 10:37:32 GMT from Iceland)
I use one of the best solutions available for mechanical drives to remove any and all data.
Several passes over the platters with an industrial magnet takes cares of the problems permanently. And you do not need to disassemble the drives. It works for all storage devices including tape.
As a side note of interest, I found an old DOS based PC in my attic that has a Colorado Tape Backup Unit installed. I also found one of my old tapes stored in my closet, inserted it, and discovered that the entire backup was intact. No data has been lost.
AMAZING! Especially considering since it has been almost thirty years since the backup was made!
56 • What I see out in the wild (by Jim on 2019-03-05 11:15:08 GMT from United States)
@ Dragonmouth While I totally believe what you are finding, I am guessing the people who post on Distrowatch are not your average computer users and worry a lot more about privacy and security than your average Windows user. That might explain the difference you are seeing?
57 • Archival Qualities of Tape (by EarlyBird on 2019-03-05 12:34:20 GMT from Canada)
@55 Paul Your experience with tape backup is rather remarkable.
The entertainment industry is having trouble with archival media footage (both audio and video) suffering the effects of time. Even in light-tight, temperature/humidity controlled storage, film fades and cracks, and the binder on magnetic tape holding the magnetic particles to the polymer base crumbles away. There has been some urgency about backing up some of these priceless artifacts before they disappear from history forever. At least in the case of analog recordings, even with some deterioration, they may be playable, and some restoration may be possible.
What is even MORE remarkable in your case, is you are dealing with data tapes (digital media) and still have readable media after all that time. When you are dealing with only bits ( 1's and 0's), any loss can have dramatic deleterious results. Tape stretching is a common problem for digital tape backup.
Re using an industrial degausser to wipe drives, you might remember that movie "The Philadelphia Experiment" where degaussing a naval vessel led to the makings of an interesting sci-fi move. One can only imagine where your bits might end up (both digital, and anatomical!).
At least with one poster's suggestion of using an angle grinder, you might lose some digits (whichever definition you apply), but they won't end up all over the universe (or perhaps an alternate one at that).
58 • MIYO (by raon on 2019-03-05 12:45:55 GMT from United States)
Like @50 & 51, gotta say that I like the idea of getting MIYO here, because after stumbling on it about 6 months ago, my distro hopping has seriously taken a hit - as pretty much the only other flavors I've even looked at are variations of MIYO. Prevoiusly I was a Mepis/MX guy, who just liked to look around. (Ok, I looked at MX18, and still think it IS the top dog distro out there.)
The only thing that gives me pause, is that MIYO is a one man show, with support limited to a Devuan forum, and the rest of the internet. That said, since it worked pretty much OTB, there wasn't the need for much hand holding on my end. Your usage may vary. I use the openbox version, and having worked with Helium and Trisquel (2 other really nice spins) before arriving, I found MIYO to be very stable, well behaved, and best of all - populated with just the very basic of software (not even a web browser) and the apt/synaptic duo so I could add the software I use, without the hassle of removing all the software I don't want.
I give it a 9.5/10 - the .5 hit from the one-man show pause mentioned earlier.
59 • #57 Tape Degredation (by Paul on 2019-03-05 12:50:26 GMT from Iceland)
I agree with you, especially with archival movie footage. Accept that in the case of classic Hollywood movies and other worldwide historical recordings, the materials used in tape production back in the day had a type of silver oxide or related coatings that were not known to the creators to erode over time, especially since many of those were stored in damp leaky movie lot vaults.
There is an entire group of professionals and scientists working with the major museums and universities trying to save as many of those recordings.
The Criterion Collection is available on the Internet for anyone interested in historical preservation. The Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution are others working on historical preservation.
My backup tapes were sealed in a nice container and secure from moisture, uv light, temp fluctuations, etc. My Father was an Audio Professional in his day and has reel to reel tape recordings that still play beautifully since they were recorded in the 1970's. Tape is flaky at best but stored properly, can last far beyond what one might believe.
60 • Law enforcement (by Tim on 2019-03-05 17:44:42 GMT from United States)
If you came across illegal pornography as part of your work as a computer recycler, I'd hope your first reaction would be to preserve all the data to give to law enforcement, to help any victims. This would be the right thing to do and the law in many jurisdictions.
61 • @60: (by dragonmouth on 2019-03-05 21:53:52 GMT from United States)
I'm not a lawyer, LEO or a priest so I do not know the difference between legal and illegal porn. I just refurbish PCs. Since all the drives i come across contain some version of Windows, I assume they are full of malware so I reformat all of them.
62 • Condres OS (by silent on 2019-03-05 22:01:24 GMT from Hungary)
Arch Linux is a cutting edge distro. So any distro based on it is still a cutting edge as long as it is using the official Arch repos. It cannot really be beginner friendly as the system may break sometimes bacause of using the latest version of almost everything.
63 • Tape Degredation (by EarlyBird on 2019-03-06 03:19:21 GMT from Canada)
@59 Paul - If I recall correctly, early tapes used ferric oxide particles held to a film base by a binder. The industry changed over to a polymer base which was far more stable, and there were gradual improvements in the binder (glue?) that held the ferric oxide to the base.
These were the glory days of audio recording with reel-to-reel tape decks being king. You probably remember names like Studor-Revox, Tandburg, Denon, etc.
When audio cassettes, with their narrower tape and slower speed came along, efforts were made to improve noise performance and dynamic range. This included the development of Dolby noise reduction, and improved tape formulations. So the standard ferric oxide tape was designated Type I, the improved Chromium-Oxide (CrO2) tapes Type II, Type 3 was a non-factor in the market, and finally "Metal" tape Type IV.
Silver is not magnetic, so never a factor in the market. The deterioration was related to the base, the binder, moisture absorption, particle separation, stretching, etc.
When the first PC's arrived (Clive-Sinclair, BBC-micro, Apple, Atari, Commodore, and even before then, the hobbyist ones featured on magazine covers like Radio-Electronics), along came the joys of tape-backup and a lifetime waiting for a program to load.
Anyway, sounds like you have some great childhood memories of your father's work.
Trivia question: Before actual tape, we had "wire" recorders dating back to WWII. But we had Hollywood movies WITH sound predating WWII. We know those movies were recorded on film (originally nitrocellulose which was rather unstable.....), but how did they record the sound on those movies? Between the period of silent movies and WWII, tape recorders did not exist.
Disclaimer: My own memory cells are starting to "degrade" with time. Can't be absolutely certain everything above is 100% correct. Going by memory, not Wikipedia (sorta like that ad "Is it Memorex or is it Ella?")
Sorry if this is off-topic, but life did exist before computers and operating systems.
64 • Destroy BEFORE creation (no, really) (by Bill Davidsen on 2019-03-06 04:36:44 GMT from United States)
Because it is really impossible to clean AFTER a bad block, start with a random over the full drive, and install with encryption to either all (including swap) or at least anything other than public partitions. Now if something bets bad that the bad guys with hardware readers will still see no open bytes.
65 • Data in recycled hard drives (by Alburgheiro on 2019-03-06 05:11:42 GMT from Russian Federation)
@60 and @61
The question is, if a company or individual are given a PC to be refurbished, are they legally entitled to search through the data?
And, if it is legal, is it also ethical? What would their clients think if they learned that the company they entrusted with the recycling of their equipment is peeping through their data?
66 • destroy hard disk data (by zykoda on 2019-03-06 16:21:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
Normal software designed to read/write/overwrite/purge "data" to/from hard drives and run under "normal" operating conditions is no guarantee that all traces of "data" are irrecoverable. There will always be some level of historic magnetisation left on the platters, recoverable by other techniques. Just look at the historic magnetism of the sea floor rocks throughout the last 200 millions years which provides a virtual calender of events. Platters would need to be run through hysteresis cycles of varying magnitude to render the "data" unusable or they must be destroyed by high temperatures or physically.
67 • Destroy Hard Drive Data (by Bob on 2019-03-06 18:08:37 GMT from United States)
I can't believe that no mentioned HDparm.
That and BadBlocks...
68 • Data Destruction (by Simon Plaistowe on 2019-03-06 21:07:40 GMT from Australia)
To securely erase an entire hard-drive, I use shred. Usually those are old drives recovered from dead machines obtained from other people for use as parts.
For periodically wiping free space on my working machines, I use BleachBit. Considering I'm not harbouring any world-changing secrets, it's enough I think.
69 • Gparted (by Roger on 2019-03-07 22:17:11 GMT from Belgium)
I just empty the HD's with Gparted and put a NTFS partition or Linux Mint on them.
All of my friends have no idea how to find data back and they always ask me to do it, so no problem for me.
70 • Encrypted drive for sensitive files (by Dxvid on 2019-03-08 08:55:52 GMT from Sweden)
I prefer having some kind of full disk encryption if I intend to have sensitive files on a computer. Various erasure methods will only help if you yourself choose to throw away your hard drives, while full disk encryption will also help against thieves and/or spies or curious people.
If you want extra security when getting rid of encrypted drives you can also remove keys or overwrite the whole disk multiple times with various tools. Encryption only protects content for a limited time, sometime in the future it will be possible to brute force any encryption. Using AES256, RSA 4k and other popular encryption algorithms only protects content for a few years or decades depending on the power of future computers, or days to years on specialised decryption ASICs depending on key strengths and algorithms. But full disk encryption will help against common thiefs and curious people for many years, possibly decades, so it's definitely worth using it.
71 • Dismounting is easy and much safer. (by Marden S. Santana on 2019-03-08 14:21:15 GMT from Brazil)
I like the of magnet of HD's, dismount to extract and destroy the disk.
Number of Comments: 71
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Troppix was a stand-alone Linux live CD based on Debian GNU/Linux, aimed at security professionals, penetration testers and auditors. In particular, Troppix features support for a wide range of wireless cards, and offers several tools for detecting and penetrating wireless networks. Troppix also includes several well known security tools, such as the nmap port scanner and the metasploit framework for vulnerability exploitation.