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Thread: Wiping hard drive before selling

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Wiping hard drive before selling

    Hi, I am selling one of my computers and would like to wipe the hard drive before selling. I found some instructions here:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/15037...cs-hard-drive/
    using the wipe command.

    I just have one question. When I do 'sudo fdisk -l' to list the drives I see 3 drives (/dev/sdaX) where X=1,2,5. These drives correspond to 'Linux', 'Extended', and 'Linux swap /Solaris', respectively. The latter two correspond to about 2M blocks, whereas the Linux drive is much larger. When I wipe the drive, should I just do /dev/sda1, or should I do them all?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Wiping hard drive before selling

    Quote Originally Posted by GammaPoint View Post
    Hi, I am selling one of my computers and would like to wipe the hard drive before selling. I found some instructions here:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/15037...cs-hard-drive/
    using the wipe command.

    I just have one question. When I do 'sudo fdisk -l' to list the drives I see 3 drives (/dev/sdaX) where X=1,2,5. These drives correspond to 'Linux', 'Extended', and 'Linux swap /Solaris', respectively. The latter two correspond to about 2M blocks, whereas the Linux drive is much larger. When I wipe the drive, should I just do /dev/sda1, or should I do them all?

    Thanks!
    All your data will be on the sda1 partition,there should be nothing on the swap partition.You could run gparted and delete the swap and extended partitions.


    Good Luck
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  3. #3
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    Mar 2008
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    Re: Wiping hard drive before selling

    Quote Originally Posted by plucky View Post
    All your data will be on the sda1 partition,there should be nothing on the swap partition.You could run gparted and delete the swap and extended partitions.


    Good Luck
    Thanks plucky! Will do that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Preston, Lancs, UK
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Wiping hard drive before selling

    I would recommend using the ATA Secure Erase command on /dev/sda
    https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase
    Last edited by cool110; October 13th, 2012 at 12:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Wiping hard drive before selling

    Quote Originally Posted by cool110 View Post
    I would recommend using the ATA Secure Erase command on /dev/sda1
    https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase
    +1

    Anything else is basically hoping that someone doesn't have rudimentary data recovery skills.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Wiping hard drive before selling

    I wonder how far somebody with rudimentary recovery skills gets when one overwrites the disk with data from /dev/zero or /dev/random.
    If you don't make backups of your important data, your data is obviously not important to you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Elgin, IL USA
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    Re: Wiping hard drive before selling

    I imagine if you used dd to write /dev/random to the entire drive (sda, not sda#) and then /dev/zero over that it would probably be difficult to impossible for someone to get any meaningful data from the drive even with special hardware. But just writing /dev/zero to the entire drive would make it appear to be totally empty with no partitions to any OS or data recovery program.
    i5 650 3.2 GHz, 8 GB, nvidia GTX 550 Ti 32" 1080p | i7-4700, 8 GB, Intel HD 4600/nvidia GTX 765M 15.6" 1080p | etc.

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