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Did You Really Wipe Your Hard Drive Clean?

Contrary to popular belief, magnets, degaussers, and other x-ray or magnetic techniques are not the answer to wiping your computer's hard drive clean. In fact, drilling, smashing, torching and other external damage doesn't do the trick either, as those aggression releasing techniques can still leave parts of the platters in decent shape to retrieve data through forensics. Of course, chances that someone will take to using forensics to get a hold of your hard drive are minimal (unless you're a criminal), but you can never be too safe.

German encryption technology specialist Pointsec recently tested hard drives bought on eBay to see if they still carried data and discovered that seven out of every 10 devices it tested still bore readable information. That study followed similar research published in 2003 that found only 12 of the 129 working computer hard drives they bought in secondhand stores and on the auction site eBay had been adequately cleansed of sensitive data from their previous owners.


Join The Conversation
woodycakes woodycakes 10 years
there used to be a magnet near our computer. it took us a while to realize it was there. tsk. tsk. tsk.
calamari calamari 10 years
For me personally, to completely erase the hard drive on my mac, I boot off of the mac OS CD and select erase hard drive. But you should also check the "zero all data" and "8 Way Random Write Format" options. This adds several hours to the formatting process, but it will help completely erase the data if you are planning to sell or get rid of the computer.
jhuck jhuck 10 years
Soooooo that's the first step...what else?
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