Leave No Trace: How to Completely Erase Your Hard Drives, SSDs and Thumb Drives

Get the why and the how on erasing hard drives in this article.

Gizmodo has a great article on why you need to completely erase hard drives, USB drives, and SSDs and serves up several ways to get the job done. SSD is (in this case) an abbreviation for Solid State Drive, a technology that has been under development and has been making its way into the consumer arena recently. Along with how to erase drives the article has software suggestions, with a section on utilities for certain brands of hard drives; Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate (including Maxtor) and Western Digital.
Other highlights in the article are securely wiping a hard disk, wiping flash memory cards and USB drives, and wiping SSDs. There's also a section that evaluates the effectiveness of disk wiping programs.
If your hard disk dies and can't be erased, I can recommend removing it and using a sledgehammer on it. Really.

Leave No Trace: How to Completely Erase Your Hard Drives, SSDs and Thumb Drives


Signing off for now,

Click here for more items like this. Better still, get Rhiannon's latest tasty tech treats delivered daily via your RSS feeder or alternatively, have the RSS feed sent as email direct to your in-box.

Share this
Average: 4.8 (9 votes)
Your rating: None


by Unwipable (not verified) on 9. October 2011 - 21:06  (81163)

I maybe wrong but DBAN does not delete or wipe the Host Protected Area (HPA) on hard drives or sectors hidden by Device Configuration Overlay (DCO).
I have used DBAN,WipeDrv,Active Kill Disk,an Ubuntu live CD and many other bootable wiping utilities to wipe an infected hard drive with no luck!
Even after a 26 hour continuous wipe session using Ubuntu live the rootkit was back!
There are some products which claim the ability to wipe both the DCO and the HPA but they require to be installed first in order to create an iso to boot from.An infected system would then create an infected boot cd!
HDDErase also claims to wipe the entire hdd but it is a confusing mess with fast moving text and poor user guide.
Do you know of any live software that actually wipes an entire hard drive effectively?
So now I have migrated to Linux and after almost six moths of using Kubuntu I have come to the conclusion that hunting down hidden rootkits and destructive Trojans is still easier and less aggravating than using an operating system created by some psycho!!
I'll take TDL4 over Sudo any day!!

by rhiannon on 4. December 2010 - 18:26  (62029)

I've used DBAN and Eraser to wipe drives. I've reinstalled operating systems after wiping them.
I make sure the drive is formatted first, though most operating systems will give you the option of formatting the drive during installation.
They were all IDE or SATA drives.

I found DBAN and Eraser to be pretty easy to use - DBAN can take a very long time even on small IDE drives.
I would have no problem using SDelete since it's a Sysinternals product and I'm fond of their programs - they do tend toward the geekier side of things and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone fairly new to computers.

I'm not familiar with forensic data recovery so I can't measure how well they worked or how hard it is to retrieve data after their use.
Most of the programs in the article have been around quite a while and have a reputation for being good programs.
Personally I would go with one whose interface is easier to navigate.

by Donner (not verified) on 4. December 2010 - 5:35  (62009)

Is it still possible to reinstall a fresh OS after using SD Delete or DBAN? I wish to wipe my hard drive on my 4 year old Desktop. Later the new owner, my cousin, may wish to reinstall XP or use Windows 7 or even Linux. Also in wiping a desktop hard drive of this age is there one product that is most effective? Thank You

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here