brent timothy saner on 26 Jul 2009 11:00:32 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Hard Drive warranty RMA

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TuskenTower wrote:

> I'm going to do some Googling for a partition wiping utility.  Anyone
> have any knowledge about these tools?
> thanks,
> Amul

if it won't fsck, it's possibly that the disk is bad.

first run badblocks(8) on it; it SHOULD be included by default in your

if that completes with no bad sectors, you can approach wiping a couple
different ways.

A.) dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/<device> bs=1024
A.) corollary:  dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/<device> bs=512 count=1

B.) dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/<device partition> bs=1024   [2]

C.) using fdisk(8), parted(8), etc.   [3]

D.) using shred(1) or wipe(1)   [4]

[1] the first will zero out the entire drive, meaning it'll wipe out
data AND the MBR (where the partition table resides). the second one
only wipes out the MBR. i'd recommend the first one because if it's a
bad filesystem format, then you want to get rid of the filesystem AND
the partition table

[2] this only zeros out data from a partition; the partition (and boot
record, partition table, etc.) will still exist.

[3] these essentially do what the corollary to A does- just let you blow
away the partition table and start new. only instead of zeroing it out,
they let you reconfigure it. note: if you recreate the same part table
as before (i.e. delete the partitions, write the new part. table, then
make new partitions at the same sectors/sizes etc.), the data will STILL
EXIST. it's a sort of neat trick, really, but i digress. that's why if
you want a fresh start on a drive i recommend zeroing the whole thing out.

[4] these are secure wiping utilities. they are designed to zero out
drives as before, but instead overwrite with several passes of random
data making forensic data recovery increasingly more difficult with
every pass. they are, however, MUCH slower than method A. you can also
use DBAN (, iirc).
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