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How best to securely erase thinkpad hard drive


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:31 PM

Lenovo is replacing my failing hd under warranty and I need to return the defective hd. I have deleted my current personal files using spybot's secure shredder and then the freerase utility when some files proved too large for the spybot's shredder.

I have summit's hard disk scrubber installed and plan to run it tonight to clear the free space using the heavy scrub overwrite [3-stage pattern 0s,1s and random]. I had a hard time getting the drive to boot last time, but if it will boot again tomorrow I'd like to turn off hibernation, reboot and then rerun the scrubber. That would scrub the hibernation file, wouldn't it? I also plan to set pagefile to clear at shutdown. If I'm able to run the scrubber tomorrow after a reboot, it would also be in the free space and get the heavy overwrite, correct?

If the drive is still running I was then going to run Darik's Boot And Nuke from a boot cd using the interactive mode so I could skip the hidden service partition and just wipe the main partition. I'm hoping it won't take days and days to run. The thinkpad x41 tablet's hd is infamous for its slowness.

The only other hd wipe freeware utility I found was killdisk - the freeware version only does a single pass of 0s but it might be quicker.

Are there some temp folders or caches whose files I ought to shred before shutting down the hd in case it totally dies before I can use DB&N?

Is there a boot utility that overwrites by folders so I could just overwrite the OS & program folders since I'll have already overwritten freespace? Would the MFT still have the names of my personal files since they've been deleted?
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

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#2 powerjuce

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 10:03 PM

I am thinking that you can just run the DBAN quick mode, it does not take that long and it should deal with the entire drive. Is there any particular reason you don't want to trash the hidden partition?

Also Lenovo does not go through all your personal data, so you should be ok with just a quick wipe.

#3 MaryBet82

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 11:01 PM

Thanks powerjuice.

I just figured there was no reason to wipe the hidden partition and it would save wiping 4 gb, but maybe doing the autonuke at the prompt would be quicker than doing interactive mode to skip 4 our of 60 gb.

Since this is a failing drive I'm expecting lenovo to trash it. I don't know if they'll wipe it before they junk it and I have no idea where it'll end up or who will have access to it.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#4 hamluis

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 08:51 AM

IMO, the best thing to do would be to contact Lenovo and see what condition they want the drive returned. You can express your concerns and questions to them and obtain a definitive answer that will be satisfactory to you and them.

Louis

#5 MaryBet82

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 06:29 PM

Thanks hamluis,

I did call lenovo support and they have a hd wipe utility called scrub3 I downloaded. Their website & my googling didn't yield info on how it works, tho. So far Darik's Boot and Nuke & Killdisk seem the most popular and had the most info available. DBAN does the most thorough job unless you get the paid version of Killdisk.

My concern was to get one that would do a thorough job and not take two weeks to do it - hence I was trying to cut 4 GB off the area to wipe. The X41's Hitachi hd is notoriously slow and we'd all like to replace it w/ some other hd w/ better performance but we can't because it's a 1.8 w/ connectors on the wrong side [I'm watching some forum threads where they are w/ experimenting w/ replacing the Hitachi HDD w/ an SDD].

DBAN does have an interactive mode where I think I could exclude the 4 GB hidden partition, but the autonuke is supposed to be the fastest method so I'm going w/ that.

Multiple articles said it was very difficult to completely wipe a hd but I think DBAN will do an adequate wipe if it works fast enough to complete the wipe - since I don't have gov or industrial secrets or swiss bank acct numbers on there to inspire the deep diggers.

Summit's scrubber took a long, long time - even set at "high" w/ everything turned off I could turn off, so I'm not going to try and run it again after disabling hibernation and rebooting. I'm going w/ DBAN & hope the drive doesn't decide to die before it completes.

I think the scrubber would be a good program to use on a less challenged computer. It has both a free space scrubber and a file shredder and you can configure the scrubber to do light [random writes] or heavy [3 pass: 0s,1s, random] and how much resources you want it to use while scrubbing
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#6 MaryBet82

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:30 PM

Just an Update

I went w/ DBAN. The downloaded program burned the boot CD for me, so it actually booted. Using the instructions on screen I chose the 3 pass erase [The autonuke only does one pass] and it completed on the 60 GB hd w/in hours, not days. The instructions were clear and the process went the way the instructions said they would.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#7 hamluis

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:53 PM

Feedback appreciated :thumbsup:.

Louis




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