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Hard drive replacement


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12 replies to this topic

#1 sunwshpr

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:45 PM

I purchased a Dell Inspiron N5040 last year and since have replaced the screen,..now, Dell PC Diagnostics (software installed on laptop) found I need to replace the hard drive. It's in warranty and spoke to the Dell rep about the problem, and they say it's all warranty and no problem. My question is there sensitive personal info I need to be aware of that needs to be backed-up and removed so the info doesn't get into wrong hands,...or am I being too paranoid? What is the best way to back-up and the best way to wipe the hard drive so personal info is erased. Thanks in advance.



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#2 goldfist

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:15 PM

If you have any data that is that sensitive, I would eat the cost of buying a new hard drive and retain the troubled drive!

 

Hard Drives are cheap. Generally if you backup your data and wipe the drive clean, nobody should be scanning the drives for your information to recover, but the minute you box it up and ship it off, it is out of your control. As far as being too paranoid. I would not call it too paranoid. I would call it taking a smart step to avoiding a data leak at the cost of just buying your replacement hard drive for this computer.

 

If you explain to Dell that there is ultra sensitive data on this troubled drive, maybe they can work out a deal with you to retain this troubled drive and still get a replacement, however there may be a fee involved to where you are buying the replacement HDD at their cost, and this could be cheaper than buying a new HDD, however some manufacturers price their replacement parts with unrealistic prices like HP and their power supplies to where you are better off buying your own and saving say $50 etc.

 

*Just be sure that you have the system recovery media that you will need to install the OS and software to the new hard drive. Dell usually offers this for free under warranty or like $35 per copy of the media outside of the warranty period as I have heard from others.


Edited by goldfist, 04 January 2014 - 04:19 PM.


#3 synergy513

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:22 PM

take that data and store it on a usb memory stick and verify that it is there and secure, and then to be safe, drill 12mm holes in the troubled drive for assured destruction destruction destruction.


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#4 hamluis

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:27 PM

I would not advocate destroying the drive...if you intend to seek warranty replacement.

 

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#5 sunwshpr

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:31 PM

What does Dell do with these bad hard drives,..and is it easy to replace,...I can still boot-up, get on the internet,watch videos,..do I really need to replace it?



#6 synergy513

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:33 PM

even after data had been deleted off the drive through ordinary avenues, a user can't be smug that the data can't still be retrieved without deploying  physical means of destruction.

 

 i read a story a few years ago, some guy thought he wiped a drive clean and formatted it blah blah and then sold it for a few measly bucks, and it wound up for sale in some town thousands of miles away, and his data was still on it somehow. scary stuff


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#7 the_patriot11

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 12:54 AM

even after data had been deleted off the drive through ordinary avenues, a user can't be smug that the data can't still be retrieved without deploying  physical means of destruction.

 

 i read a story a few years ago, some guy thought he wiped a drive clean and formatted it blah blah and then sold it for a few measly bucks, and it wound up for sale in some town thousands of miles away, and his data was still on it somehow. scary stuff

 

if one is planning on getting rid of the drive, that is good advice. However, if the drive is under warranty, it is wise to warranty the drive-and companies will not warranty a drive with holes in it. So by doing that, the op would lose money. If the op chooses to warranty out the drive, the proper course of action is contact dell and they will give him directions on where to send it, and they will destroy the drive.


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#8 synergy513

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 01:09 AM

the op expressed concern that sensitive data on the drive cannot be retrieved by any means. merely deleting the data or formatting the drive or even demagnetizing it isn't a secure solution. physical destruction was what i interpreted as a solution.  a small price to pay, or so i thought.

 

 in hindsight, hopefully any user can surmise that if the information is that sensitive, don't put it on a hard drive to begin with.

 

 

 also, i read another article about service center copy machines. apparently from what i read, those copy machines often have digital storage devices in them and folks innocently assume that they can just go and make copies and be done with it...think again.  it isn't a biggie if the band camp booster club is making copies of the roster or something. ...but what about the divorce lawyer documents that could involve significant loads of currency?   

 

             welcome to the digital age


Edited by synergy513, 05 January 2014 - 01:21 AM.

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#9 jonuk76

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 02:24 AM

Formatting and deleting does not get rid of data effectively.  But completely overwriting it multiple times with random garbage does.  How about some of the utilities on UBCD?  Several of them claim to wipe drives to a level compliant with various military standards (e.g PC Disk Eraser).

 

I suppose it depends on how sensitive it is.  If it's top secret and likely to be intercepted on the way back to Dell by Mossad/SVR/CIA/GCHQ etc. then it might be safer to go for physical destruction.  But pretty sure total wiping by multiple overwrites will prevent any sort of recovery by all but the most well funded security services.

 

I think the only proviso is if it's currently damaged to a point that the overwrite operation is not possible.  In which case perhaps some screen grabs from the disk utility showing it's failing will be enough to persuade Dell to issue a replacement without having to send the original back (if you explain there is confidential data stored on it).


Edited by jonuk76, 05 January 2014 - 02:40 AM.

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#10 lsmeed

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:07 AM

I think we're getting a bit carried away here... the original question was:

 

sunwshpr:

 

 "is there sensitive personal info I need to be aware of that needs to be backed-up and removed"

 

First thing to establish is what do you use the machine for? I interpret your question to suggest that it is just a general use machine and you're concerned because you have personal info on it, maybe access your bank online and are worried about passwords etc being recovered from the drive - as opposed to having commercially or nationally sensitive information which would be security classed.

 

If this is the case then there is a slim chance of any harm coming to you even if you don't do anything to the drive. If you would like be safe just in case (always sensible) then backing up your files, pictures etc etc on a usb stick and performing a few formats will be more than is required for general stuff.

 

If you would like to be a bit safer still then a third party bit of software which wipes and over-writes the drive can be a good way to go.

 

As for physical destruction, that would certainly invalidate your warranty making the whole issue pointless as you may as well just go out and buy a new drive and not bother with Dell at all.

I work in a VERY security sensitive job and the UK government guidlines state that commercially sensitive drives need to be wiped and data blitzed and any drives containing RESTRICTED or higher (confidential, top secret etc) must be physically destroyed in a controlled manner - i.e. put into a shredder where the chips that come out cannot be more than 2mm pieces... this is massive overkill for someone worried about protecting their personal data.

 

Dell have a corporate responsibility to treat your data properly. If you send your drive off and they replace it chances are your drive will be destroyed. There is a possiblility that the drive is repaired and sold on as a refurb but even in this case they will have to use an accredited process for wiping the drive clean to international ISO standards.

 

Put simply, for general use I would back up my stuff to a USB stick, and format the drives a few times... maybe go for a utility to effectively brick the drive such as one suggested by jonuk76.


Edited by lsmeed, 06 January 2014 - 05:12 AM.


#11 jonuk76

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:53 PM

Yes all good points :)  FWIW the references to the CIA etc. were tongue in cheek :whistle:

 

Just to avoid any confusion, the utilities I mentioned will not physically damage (or permanently 'brick') the drive in normal circumstances - they just perform a process which will to all intents and purposes make any data recovery impossible.  Repartitioning and reformatting after the wiping should be possible.  The only thing to lose (apart from the data of course) is the time taken to run the operation, which will vary depending on size/speed of drive.  However in the case of a drive that's already failing I guess it could accelerate the process of it dying.


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#12 AlexSmithFanning

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:41 PM

Gotta love ye' oldie hard drive. If i thought the data was that sensitive i would put a grenade under it and pull the pin.

 

 

Just my opinion. 


I prefer Linux. Windows 10 is just to invasive for me.


#13 hamluis

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 01:33 PM

What does Dell do with these bad hard drives,..and is it easy to replace,...I can still boot-up, get on the internet,watch videos,..do I really need to replace it?

 

I'm fairly sure that Dell sells damaged hard drives to some entity that contracts to produce the "refurbished hard drives" with 60-90-day warranties that some choose to buy.

 

More About Such...

 

Louis






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