[ubuntu-uk] Shredding HDD data

Rob Beard rob at esdelle.co.uk
Wed Aug 11 17:17:58 BST 2010

On 11/08/10 14:15, Tyler J. Wagner wrote:
> On Wednesday 11 Aug 2010 11:01:16 Byte Soup wrote:
>> One of my family wants to shred some HDDs before discarding them, or giving
>> them away on freecycle. What application would you all recommend to do
>> this? I have used "shred" to remove files, but I dont think it can do an
>> entire disc (i.e. some previously deleted files)
> I use shred to dispose of drives every month.
> DBAN, as others have recommended, is handy. But you don't need it. You can
> boot on the disk you want to shred, or an Ubuntu Live CD (which has shred), or
> from a machine that has another boot disk and is cabled up to the target
> drive. Then shred the drive:
> shred -v /dev/sdb
> Yes, it works on drive devices. Yes, you can do it to a live drive, even one
> hosting the filesystem you booted from, and it will keep running. Very shortly
> after, the running system won't be good for much besides watching the output.
> -v will keep you informed of progress. It usually takes my server 48-72 hours
> to make 3-4 passes shredding a 500 GB SATA drive connected via a USB drive
> adaptor.

Interesting, I'll have to have a look at that.  I can't comment on how 
long DBAN takes to wipe a 500GB drive as I haven't tried it (biggest 
drive I've used DBAN on is about 160GB which IIRC took about 3 or 4 
hours).  I guess Shred is handy if you want to just bung a drive on your 
server, set it going and forget about it.  Generally when I use DBAN I 
chuck the drive in an old Dell P3, netboot and run DBAN from there.

> I doubt anyone will have the resources or motivation to recover a drive after
> even 1 pass of shred, much less the higher numbers recommended by security
> researchers.

Probably not :-)


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