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Hard Disk Wipe

by zoomy123 / March 22, 2010 6:51 AM PDT

How do I make sure that a disk wipe was successful? In other words, how do I know that the drive was actually overwritten? Thanks.

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(NT) Try recovering something from it.
by VAPCMD / March 22, 2010 11:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Hard Disk Wipe
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by zoomy123 / March 22, 2010 4:32 PM PDT

I'm not very computer savvy so I don't know how to do that. Can you explain how I would do that. Isn't there a program that would just allow me to see if the drive was indeed wiped?

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It's slightly advanced.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 22, 2010 10:02 PM PDT
In reply to: How?

If I wanted to try this my thought is to boot up a linux machine and use the linux strings command on the device. Read

This would read the entire drive and emit any text strings it finds. Usually more than enough to see if the drive was blank.

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by zoomy123 / March 22, 2010 11:29 PM PDT

Sorry, but I don't have a Linux machine. Is there no other way to do this? I simply want to check if my disk was wiped.

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You don't need a Linux machine.
by Kees Bakker / March 22, 2010 11:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Linux

All you need is a bootable Linux Live CD. Those can be downloaded.


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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2010 12:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Linux

Your post didn't tell what you used to wipe the drive. For example DBAN is well known to work. But you are asking to check the results which is going to take just a little more work. Some might call that advanced.

To vet the erasure we can not rely on any tool that says "your drive is erased" but look to existing tools that can emit something useful.

This brings us to "what could work?" and "what we can use for free?" and "what wouldn't tax the users too hard?"

For me that's almost any of the bootable linux CDs and one command called strings.

-> But I hear you loud and clear. I bet you want something web based with a button that is labeled "Click here to verify your drive is blank." The problem is, there is no such software today.

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by zoomy123 / March 23, 2010 2:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Verifying.

Is installing a Linux OS the only way to do this? Are there other options? If so, what are those other options.

By the way, I used killdisk on one drive and wipe disk on another drive.

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Disk Wipe
by zoomy123 / March 23, 2010 2:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Options

Sorry, I didn't mean wipe disk, I meant disk wipe.

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No install required.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2010 2:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Options

Many of the Linux CDs today boot and run off the CD with no install. Killdisk is known to wipe a drive just fine BUT that is not what you are asking.

You asked how to tell if it worked. And to answer your next question, no install of Linux is required to get to use strings to see what might be left on the hard drive.

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2 Questions
by zoomy123 / March 23, 2010 3:45 AM PDT
In reply to: No install required.

What are some other methods besides using Linux to verify that my disk was wiped?

And, if I use the strings command in Linux will it tell me if any other type of media e.g. music files, pictures, etc. besides printable characters were found?


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Why strings is my answer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2010 4:22 AM PDT
In reply to: 2 Questions

Because a jpeg file would have text inside it that strings would find.

Sorry, I've given you my best answer. It requires all of a boot to the CD, open the command line and typing one line and pressing enter. I can't see it getting any easier than that outside of having it done for you.

Let's see what others tell.

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File Formats
by zoomy123 / March 23, 2010 4:43 AM PDT

Would strings find videos, music files, etc.? Listen, if strings only works with printable characters and I have file formats which do not contain printable characters, then your method is useless to me!

This is why I asked for other methods. Your systematic evasion of my questions is starting to frustrate me. Just answer my questions, please. Thanks.

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Let's look at each file format.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2010 4:59 AM PDT
In reply to: File Formats

MP3 has tags, AVI has the CCCC or 4C code, and it continues on with each file type.

So, yes, strings is a very good way to tell.

I never evaded your question. I only am leaving other methods to others.

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by zoomy123 / March 23, 2010 5:13 AM PDT

I just wasn't sure if strings would catch it all. Again, thanks and I appreciate your help.

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(NT) Try "Recuva" not hard to find.
by VAPCMD / March 23, 2010 10:21 AM PDT
In reply to: How?
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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2010 5:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Hard Disk Wipe

The forum bottoms out when the thread has so many replies so reply to your top entry or another to continue.

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