Free Disk Wipe Tools

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Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:48 am

I'm going to recycle a few laptops I have sitting around and I want to wipe the disks. It's been so long since I've done this and completely forgot the utilities I used to use. I'm looking for a piece of software that basically I can burn to a disc and boot off of it. Any recommendations? Thanks!
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:22 am

These days I generally just use a Linux live distro burned to a CD or loaded on a thumbdrive. If you open up a CLI window and do a "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4k" it will write zeros to the entire drive.

One potential issue with this approach is if the drive contains bad (unwritable) sectors the dd tool will bail at the bad sector, so you do need to look at the output to make sure it completed without displaying an error message.

If you want something a little more robust, Google "dban".
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:44 pm

This can be done in Windows (entire disk reset to 0) using the disk part clean all command.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:40 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:This can be done in Windows (entire disk reset to 0) using the disk part clean all command.

Ahh, good to know. I assume to wipe the boot drive you need to boot from a recovery disk, yes?

(Though I live mostly in Linux-land these days I do still need to deal with Windows systems on occasion...)
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:50 pm

DBAN, the final word in nuking it from orbit.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:51 pm

DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke http://www.dban.org/ ) is super easy, and it's automatic.

scrub is another little utility that I like to use.

Neither of these work on RAID arrays, so the drives would have to be exported as single drives.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:05 pm

just brew it! wrote:These days I generally just use a Linux live distro burned to a CD or loaded on a thumbdrive. If you open up a CLI window and do a "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4k" it will write zeros to the entire drive.

A useful thing to do if you're into such things is set up a multiboot USB stick with several live distros, sys rescue CD, DBAN, AV, and any other tools that might be useful. Easier to manage than several USB sticks or CDs, and it's always ready when I need something.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:35 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Ryu Connor wrote:This can be done in Windows (entire disk reset to 0) using the disk part clean all command.

Ahh, good to know. I assume to wipe the boot drive you need to boot from a recovery disk, yes?

(Though I live mostly in Linux-land these days I do still need to deal with Windows systems on occasion...)


Yes, but is easily accessible from a Windows 7 DVD under the repair install (WinRE).

Just select the command prompt option.

diskpart
list disk
select disk <#>
clean all

Don't select the wrong disk or misery will follow.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:00 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:Don't select the wrong disk or misery will follow.

I imagine that is true of any of the solutions listed in this thread. :wink:

The Linux "dd" solution does require an additional manual check (look at system logs or run some other tool to verify association between physical drives and device names) if you have a system with more than one drive, since the device names (/dev/sda, /dev/sdb, etc.) are not guaranteed to be in any particular order relative to how your hardware numbers its disk controller ports. I should've mentioned that in my original reply.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:06 pm

just brew it! wrote:These days I generally just use a Linux live distro burned to a CD or loaded on a thumbdrive. If you open up a CLI window and do a "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4k" it will write zeros to the entire drive.


Nowadays coreutils has a tool called "shred" that will write random data 3x to anything you tell it to. "sudo shred -v /dev/sda" will overwrite the drive and give a continuously-updating status about its progress.

https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/ ... ation.html
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:12 pm

If the disk is recent enough, you can use the ATA Secure Erase:
https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase

You need hdparm from a Linux boot disk. If it is too old, I would just do the writing zeros with dd method. DBAN is way overkill with the multiple overwrites - nobody has recovered data after a single wipe on a modern hard drive.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:34 pm

I haven't used it in years but on Windows the old SysInternals SDelete is still around.
notfred wrote: DBAN is way overkill with the multiple overwrites - nobody has recovered data after a single wipe on a modern hard drive.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:58 pm

bthylafh wrote:
just brew it! wrote:These days I generally just use a Linux live distro burned to a CD or loaded on a thumbdrive. If you open up a CLI window and do a "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4k" it will write zeros to the entire drive.


Nowadays coreutils has a tool called "shred" that will write random data 3x to anything you tell it to. "sudo shred -v /dev/sda" will overwrite the drive and give a continuously-updating status about its progress.

https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/ ... ation.html


This works but shred is a bit slow. I prefer to use openssl to create pseudo-random data to dump onto the disk. Something like this works pretty well -

Code: Select all
$openssl enc -aes128 -k 'foo' < /dev/zero | pv -bar | dd bs=4M of=/dev/sd[I've double and triple checked this is the right drive letter]


You may need to install pv, but that portion of the command is optional, but it's nice as it gives you the speed of the transfer and total data written. Using openssl, I can write the random data to the disk as fast as it will take it.
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Re: Free Disk Wipe Tools

Postposted on Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:30 pm

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/detail. ... D=tvan-sdd

We use that at work. Use the DoD 7 pass method. Takes a while depending on the drive. Burned to cd and boot from there.
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