We got caught out this week by a laptop that had successively escaped being wiped for a number of years and just had a generic image pushed on to it at the end of last year. Usual story - not enough laptops to go round, people demanding one at a minute's notice - so this particular machine fell under the radar.
It was looked at and wiped the other week but a subsequent deep scan has shown that in the past somebody was a bit naughty possibly and their deleted browsing history isn't very pretty although it could have been a virus or a Google search gone wrong as the deleted cached images we saw were just thumbnails and the graphics that make up websites.
It's all under investigation now but we don't think we'll ever know what happened as this machine has been used by everybody and their dog and has been taken off-site on numerous occasions by various people.
We are rather concerned as this machine was wiped using DBan and also the wipe free space feature in CCleaner, and there was apparently still deleted data recoverable.
What drive wiping software / free space wiping software do you use / recommend?
It's got me all paranoid now as I always assumed we were purging everything for good.
HDDerase is a freeware utility that securely erases data on hard drives using the security erase unit command built into the firmware of ATA and SATA drives manufactured after 2001. HDDerase was developed by the Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California San Diego. It differs from other file deletion programs such as Darik's Boot and Nuke which attempt to erase data using block writes, and therefore cannot access certain portions of the hard drive. The internal firmware secure erase command can access data that is no longer accessible through software, such as bad blocks. (Source)
We hit our drives with a club hammer until the platters break inside if we're disposing of them for good. For the few laptops we've passed onto other places, we've used the full disk wipe option on fog which takes a while but seems to do a through job. I've tried file recovery software on a drive afterwards and only succeded in getting a list of some file names but no actual data back which was re-assuring. It takes a long time to do the full wipe thou.
I use the built in software within fog to do this, can't remember the software it uses though at the moment - i'll look tomorrow and let you know. I'm going to run it on all the machines in the summer before installing win 7 on them.
For what it costs always replace the HDD for a new one if passing on to another school or anywhere else for that matter, otherwise as has been mentioned previously a large ball-peen hammer does the trick and is very thorough when in the hands of my young technician.
I see a few posters favour the brute force method of HD destruction - my Deputy Head also is keen that we dispose of our back-load of disks this way - in fact I think he is thinking of drilling through the cases of each in a couple of places!
If we did this then what's the recognised method of disposal of the old disk in compliance with DPA and WEEE?
we use DBAN and also we use East-tec 2008 as a secure purge program, we also have a secure purge facility in a cage in the back of the store room with only a couple of machines with old crt monitors with just a keyboard for input devices, we use floppy for the wiping program, and those machines have laptop adaptors in them too so that we can bang laptop hd's in there if we want to.