Go Back   AnandTech Forums > Hardware and Technology > General Hardware

Forums
· Hardware and Technology
· CPUs and Overclocking
· Motherboards
· Video Cards and Graphics
· Memory and Storage
· Power Supplies
· Cases & Cooling
· SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones PCs
· Networking
· Peripherals
· General Hardware
· Highly Technical
· Computer Help
· Home Theater PCs
· Consumer Electronics
· Digital and Video Cameras
· Mobile Devices & Gadgets
· Audio/Video & Home Theater
· Software
· Software for Windows
· All Things Apple
· *nix Software
· Operating Systems
· Programming
· PC Gaming
· Console Gaming
· Distributed Computing
· Security
· Social
· Off Topic
· Politics and News
· Discussion Club
· Love and Relationships
· The Garage
· Health and Fitness
· Merchandise and Shopping
· For Sale/Trade
· Hot Deals with Free Stuff/Contests
· Black Friday 2014
· Forum Issues
· Technical Forum Issues
· Personal Forum Issues
· Suggestion Box
· Moderator Resources
· Moderator Discussions
   

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-03-2012, 09:04 AM   #1
GaryGnu
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 135
Arrow Erase data from bad hard drive

I am probably just being paranoid. I have a portable hard drive. It's a WD My Passport. Several months ago, I backed up all my files on it, and stored it off site. I retrieved it the other day, and tried to connect it. It's dead. It's still under warranty. WD wants me to send it back so I can get a new one. Since I cannot connect to it, I can't delete what is (was) on it.

I don't like the idea of someone possibly being able to get data off the drive, but I want a free replacement. What steps can I take to remove the data? I've thought of dropping the thing a few times, or putting some magnets right on it.

What else? Or am I just being paranoid?

Gary
__________________
Support Science, Not Superstition.
GaryGnu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
RU482
Lifer
 
RU482's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 12,590
Default

large magnet?
RU482 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
corkyg
Moderator
Peripherals
 
corkyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 24,115
Default

If you can remove the bare drive from the WD case, you might find it is OK, and what is shot is the case electronics.
__________________
CorkyG - Tucson, AZ

In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.... Emile Zola
corkyg is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 10:23 AM   #4
Brian Stirling
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,724
Default

Hammer time!


Brian
__________________
Raptorsys
Brian Stirling is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 11:12 AM   #5
MichaelD
Lifer
 
MichaelD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Halfway There
Posts: 31,506
Default

If it is possible to open the case without breaking any warranty seals, I'd open it up and make sure the drive is still attached to the internal cabling. If not, you either send it back to WD and risk your data, or you eat it. The dead drive, not the data. And figuratively, not literally...dont' need you getting sick. I just threw away a bunch of old IDE drives. Some dead, some not. They are worth nothing on EBay. I put them on the concrete floor in the garage, gave my 3yo son a BFH and let him go to town.
MichaelD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 11:34 AM   #6
GaryGnu
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 135
Default

I've got some big magnets sitting on it now. Is that going to do anything?
__________________
Support Science, Not Superstition.
GaryGnu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 11:59 AM   #7
dave_the_nerd
Diamond Member
 
dave_the_nerd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 6,776
Default

Set it on fire.

__________________
Scientific progress goes "Boink?"

Windows Gaming Box: AsRock Z77E-ITX / i5-3570k @ 4GHz / 8GB RAM / GTX 660Ti / Samsung EVO 250GB / Seagate Momentus 750GB / Silverstone SG05.
NAS: Foxconn D-70S-P (Celeron 1037U) / 4GB DDR3 / 4x Toshiba DT01ACA200, 1x DT01ACA300, 1x DT01ABA200, / Fractal Node 804.
dave_the_nerd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
DaveSimmons
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 37,232
Default

If you didn't want the replacement:

I've used a screwdriver to pop chips off of the printed circuit board and break some of the traces.

If you have a drill, you could drill holes in the PCB instead.

Unless this is classified intelligence information, no one is going to make the effort to transfer the PCB from a working drive to yours to get at your secrets.


Since you do want the replacement:

You can try the magnet.

Last edited by DaveSimmons; 10-03-2012 at 12:31 PM.
DaveSimmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
FrankSchwab
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 212
Default

The magnet is unlikely to do anything - it's too far away from the platters to have a strong enough field to flip any bits.

Next time, use drive encryption. When the drive fails, you'll have no concerns about people being able to read it.
FrankSchwab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2012, 07:06 PM   #10
mfenn
Elite Member
Super Moderator
General Hardware
 
mfenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 20,969
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankSchwab View Post
The magnet is unlikely to do anything - it's too far away from the platters to have a strong enough field to flip any bits.


OP, the only way to really be sure about a dead drive is to physically destroy it. Obviously, WD isn't going to take it back like that, so you have to decide whether or not the free replacement is worth the risk. The risk of somebody looking at your data is miniscule, though you might want to destroy the drive is you have something really serious on there (like evidence of a felony or something).
mfenn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2012, 12:12 PM   #11
GaryGnu
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 135
Default

Thanks for all the replies. I was surprised to hear the magnets will not do anything.
__________________
Support Science, Not Superstition.
GaryGnu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2012, 02:25 PM   #12
Dstoop
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 151
Default

That's not to say that magnets *wont* do anything, just that your typical fridge magnet isn't strong enough to do anything. You'd need something considerably more powerful to truly wipe the drive.

What we do at work where we have to stay HIPAA compliant is pop it in an old system and run DBAN on it assuming the heads arent totally fudged and it actually still kinda works. If that doesnt work because the drive is physically broken, we get out the drill, take it out back, and drill a bunch of holes right through it.

Even drives still under warranty get shipped *nowhere*, but sometimes following strict regulations means eating the extra cost of voiding the warranty. That being said, I seriously doubt anyone at the WD plant you ship your dead drive to is taking drives home and doing serious data recovery on them. Even if it gets refurbed they need to reformat the drives so they are "clean" when they get resold.
Dstoop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2013, 12:11 AM   #13
nandtech2012
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Default

Maybe WBD(Wipe Bad Disk) would be useful for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryGnu View Post
I am probably just being paranoid. I have a portable hard drive. It's a WD My Passport. Several months ago, I backed up all my files on it, and stored it off site. I retrieved it the other day, and tried to connect it. It's dead. It's still under warranty. WD wants me to send it back so I can get a new one. Since I cannot connect to it, I can't delete what is (was) on it.

I don't like the idea of someone possibly being able to get data off the drive, but I want a free replacement. What steps can I take to remove the data? I've thought of dropping the thing a few times, or putting some magnets right on it.

What else? Or am I just being paranoid?

Gary
nandtech2012 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.