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Wiping a HD before a return?


Peter O
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A few weeks ago I had a one year old 80gig Western Digital SE go bad on me: Windows started crashing randomly, my BIOS warned me that my HD was near death, bad sectors all over the place.

 

The WD diagnostics tool told me to RMA the drive, most of the data is still there however.

 

What would be the best way to clear the drive before sending it back? I may be a tad paranoid, but it has a lot of personal stuff on there (emails, docs, etc.).

 

After formatting it, would the drive still display bad sectors when tested? I don't want to "remove" the problem before I send the thing back.

 

I know a simple format doesn't actually remove the data, what should I do in addition to that?

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Originally posted by Odie@Feb 10 2004, 06:49 PM

After formatting it, would the drive still display bad sectors when tested? I don't want to "remove" the problem before I send the thing back.

 

I know a simple format doesn't actually remove the data, what should I do in addition to that?

Formatting the drive will not fix the bad sectors, so it's safe to do that. If you want the best chance of your data not being seen you'll need to do a low level format. There should be a utility on your WD diagnostics disk, if not do a Google search for one. Just be warned that a low level format takes forever to complete.

 

Personally I wouldn't worry to much about people looking at your data since all WD will do is rebuild the drive.

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Originally posted by Odie@Feb 11 2004, 01:05 AM

Is writing zeros over the drive equivalent to a low-level format?

 

I must read too much Slashdot. I've heard of people being able to get info off of HDs that have been formatted several times in a row.

Correct, a low level format writes zeros to all sectors, which basically writes over top of your old data. I believe normal formats don't really erase the data, it just erases the info on where to retrieve the data and says it ok to use all secotrs to write new data.

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Why don't you take it to Best Buy and let them do it for you? Mike will second that one! :lol:

 

Actually, I have about twelve machines to wipe here at work in the next week or two. I plan to have four going at a time...

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