[kwlug-disc] OT - degauss/wipe a dead hard drive/LTO tapes

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Mon May 3 11:52:08 EDT 2010

On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 10:58, Oksana Goertzen <ogoertzen at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello Everyone,
> I have a hard drive that can be sent back to the manufacturer because it's
> still
> under warranty.  The drive is no longer boot-able.  Will degaussing the
> drive
> wipe it sufficiently?  Does anyone have access to such a device or a strong
> electric magnet?  I can't run DBAN or destroy the drive because it needs to
> go back to the manufacturer in good enough condition that they can determine
> it failed.

Is the drive even detected, or is it just a brick? If it at least
shows up (but is inaccessible) it might be worth a shot at poking the
secure-erase functionality built-in to most hard drives nowdays.

Unfortunately I'm not sure how to activate it (smartctl doesn't seem
to poke that, at least nothing in the manpage indicates so). I encrypt
my hard drive for just this reason (I sent a failed drive back last
year without a worry).

This doesn't help if the drive is really just a big brick. I'd be
worried about taking any sort of invasive procedures. Will they look
at the drive and say "It failed 'cause you stuck a big electromagnet
next to it", even if that was after the fact?

> And on a side note, we have a number (a lot, actually) of LTO tapes at work
> that should either be destroyed or degaussed.  Does anyone know anything
> about degaussing tapes?  Can they be recycled at all?

Chris Irwin
<chris at chrisirwin.ca>

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