Author Topic: Wiping an Old Laptop  (Read 182 times)

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Offline airboy

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Wiping an Old Laptop
« on: August 14, 2019, 12:20:00 PM »
I have an old laptop that I need to wipe the hard drive.  Any software recommendations?

The laptop did not have tax information or financials - but I would still like a clean wipe.


Offline Silent Disapproval Robot

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 02:25:04 PM »
Skeet thrower and your 12 gauge!

Offline Huw the Poo

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2019, 03:03:14 PM »
I don't know how you'd do this on Windows, but if it's feasible, boot the laptop from a Linux USB and use dd from /dev/urandom to the target disk, which will just fill the disk with random data.  I'm sure there must be open source utilities available for Windows that accomplish the same thing.

Offline CJReich46

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2019, 03:48:28 PM »
Darik's Boot and Nuke.

CCleaner is good for wiping too.

But Darik's Boot and Nuke is recommended.

Linky for ya: https://dban.org/

" He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small,
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all.  - James Graham 1st Marquess of Montrose

Offline W8taminute

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 09:18:16 AM »
If you never intend to use the laptop again do what I do. 

Remove the hard drive from the laptop.  Open the hard drive case to access the disk platter(s) inside.  Take an awl or scribe and scratch both surfaces of each platter vigorously.  Dip any electronics inside the hard drive casing in a tub of nail polish remover (or better yet if you can get it use Acetone).

For extra security if you have a large magnet take the disk platters and after you scratch them up put the platters next to the magnet for several hours.  By magnetizing the platters you are physically wiping the hard drive.  Data is written and read off of hard drives using magnetic read/write heads.  I used to be a process engineer for a hard drive manufacturer so I know how to disable a drive. 
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 09:22:57 AM by W8taminute »
Forgive me my old friend.  But I must use all my experience...to get home.

Offline MikeGER

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 11:57:45 AM »
lesser work then W8taminute's procedure

take the hard drive and heat it up above the Curie temperature of the magnetic storage material on the disks
700 C should do the trick for sure  (...charcoal burns with 800 C)

and its not a switch, the process of degrading of the magnetic areas already starts with much lower temperatures   

Offline airboy

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 06:00:53 PM »
Appreciate it.  I'll see if I can unscrew the case and physically remove it.  Probably use a power drill and a steel bit.

Offline airboy

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Re: Wiping an Old Laptop
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2019, 08:44:58 PM »
Went through and unscrewed the laptop.  Wife had a set of Harbor Freight little phillips head screwdrivers that worked well.

Extracted the Hard drive.

Tore out all of the metal parts I could.

Tomorrow during daylight I'll smash the plastic parts.

Very therapeutic given the frustrations of my wife suddenly going deaf in one ear.

Never disassembled a laptop before.  Fun when you don't have to worry about it ever working again!    :D