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

Lori Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Mon May 3 13:41:35 EDT 2010

Call me cavalier, but...

If the drive is from 2006, it will cost more wipe it (or think about
wiping it!) for RMA than it would cost to go out and buy a new one with
twice the capacity.  

If the data on it is that sensitive, buy yourself a new drive and good
drill with bit.  After you set up the new drive you can take the old one
apart and drill as many holes in the platters as it takes to be
comfortable.  Access to a drill-press?  Even better.  Plus, you'll have
the tools to safely dispose of any drive in the future!

On Mon, 2010-05-03 at 12:36 -0400, Oksana Goertzen wrote:
> Last time I checked the disk was a brick.  I can put it in the freezer
> and
> see if I can get it to boot and try to use DBAN on it.  I had simply
> written
> it off and was going to destroy it but I came across the sales slip
> last night
> and it's under warranty 'til 2011 and I checked it on the Western
> Digital site.
> I have to send the drive to WD in order for them to send me a new one
> free of charge.  I figured if perhaps I degaussed it with a strong
> magnet
> that might be enough.. usually I wipe the drives (DoD style) before
> discarding 
> them.  I will check with them to see their policies are with regard to
> old
> drives.  
> Thanks!
> Oksana
> On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM, Chris Irwin <chris at chrisirwin.ca>
> wrote:
>         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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>         kwlug-disc_kwlug.org at kwlug.org
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