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is HDDErase the best way to secure erase HDD; compare to Win8 Push Button Reset

(12 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by nharp0386
  • Latest reply from G41M
  • Topic Viewed 1308 times

nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

Is HDDErase the best and most secure way to delete/destroy data on a modern HDD so that it absolutely cannot be recovered (outside of possibly in a forensic setting)? If not, what is the best and most secure option?

How does the security of Windows 8's Push Button Reset's "Reset your PC" feature (the "thorough" option) compare to HDDErase (or whatever program might be better and more secure)?

Since HDDErase (and many other similar utilities) uses the drive's built-in Secure Erase command, how can I make sure that my drive has that feature?

Thanks!

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

I will also add that I need a program that can securely erase a SATA HDD that is connected via an external docking station (USB 2.0). Can HDDErase do this? If so, is it the best and most secure way, or is there anything better and more secure (or otherwise that you'd recommend instead)?

Posted 1 year ago
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StringJunky
StringJunky
Posts: 2454

Here you are: http://eraser.heidi.ie/

As long as a program overwrites the whole sector, including cluster tips it's securely erased...you only need to write once.

Posted 1 year ago
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G41M
Posts: 902

Reset your PC in Windows 8 does not completely erase your hdd. It reinstalls Windows but deletes your files, settings, and apps except for the apps that came with your PC. HDDerase completely wipes your hdd.

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

Are you sure about Push Button Reset not completely erasing the drive? According to this, the "thorough" method does wipe it, and does so similarly to disk wiping utilities.

Posted 1 year ago
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G41M
Posts: 902

From the article:

"The first, called Reset Your PC, removes all of your personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and then reinstalls Windows to its factory-fresh, day-1 condition." - It is Windows 8 that is wipe out and reinstalled and not the whole drive content.

From Wiki:

HDDerase is a freeware utility that securely erases data on hard drives using the security erase unit command built into the firmware of Parallel ATA and Serial ATA drives manufactured after 2001.

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

According to the text between the 2nd and 3rd images in the "Using PC Reset" section of that article, the "thorough" option does a 3-pass wipe of the HDD and is similar to data wiping utilities. Although it doesn't say it invokes the secure erase function like HDDErase does, how would a 3-pass wipe of the drive with Push Button Reset not wipe the whole drive content and completely erase the drive?

Posted 1 year ago
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G41M
Posts: 902

With HDDerase the "WHOLE" drive is securely erased using the security erase command in the firmware. With W8 thorough reset, Windows erases and formats the hard drive partitions on which Windows and personal data reside. Other partitions may not be erased like non-Windows partition which is not visible to Windows or possibly Windows partition in a way not related to the Windows (not sure about this though).

Windows thorough option will write random patterns to every sector it erases on the drive (several passes), overwriting any existing data just like other "erasing" software like DBAN, etc. so that the data are not easily recoverable without the use of special equipments.

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

So if all I have are the default partitions - C and Recovery, Push Button Reset will do a fine job securely wiping any sensitive data/files on C?

Posted 1 year ago
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G41M
Posts: 902

Although I have not tried the reset option (not much into Windows 8 right now), I think a thorough reset will do a fine job as far as security , much more advisable than just a simple delete or a format if you have sensitive data you do not want to be easily recovered.

Posted 1 year ago
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nharp0386
nharp0386
Posts: 145

Thanks. Is it likely that the data can be more easily recovered if I use the Push Button Reset thorough reset than if I use a different wiping utility?

Posted 1 year ago
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G41M
Posts: 902

It is really hard to compare which wiping utility is the best or is better than the other. The best approach depends on whether how sensitive is the data (e.g. secret government docs, company trade secrets, personal data, etc). Also, how well you trust the beneficiary of the drive (e.g. friend, relative, charity (unknown). For really really sensitive data, the recommended is to physically destroy the drive.

If you are giving the computer to a trusted friend or relative and you want to include the Windows 8 OS, a simple reset would probably suffice but if to charity maybe a thorough reset is recommended.

If it is just the drive you are giving, you can use HDDerase,DBAN or any hdd erasing utility, to wipe the drive. I can not recommend which one since they differ in their approaches and have their own pros and cons.

Posted 1 year ago
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