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#1 2018-12-29 20:03:21

catnap
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Registered: 2016-10-03
Posts: 92

[WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

As the Arch Wiki article  explains, good security practices require a hard disk user to wipe the disk that is being decommissioned. I have a years old laptop that I'm trying to clean up from my personal files before giving it forward to another user. However, I wonder if the wiper program itself will get wiped at some point if I use the computer itself to perform the wiping. Should there be an external device, an installer CD, or something along those lines to enable the contents to be erased completely? I've tried to boot to an Arch Linux image on a USB stick but the computer failed to boot from it---possibly because of the BIOS settings, even if USB seems to be listed in the boot options.

Last edited by catnap (2018-12-29 21:23:22)

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#2 2018-12-29 20:05:13

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 26,869
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Re: [WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

You write to the target drive from the live media.


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#3 2018-12-29 20:37:06

circleface
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Registered: 2012-05-26
Posts: 635

Re: [WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

If you can't boot from a USB for whatever reason, a live cd will work too.  I would imagine most of the "utility" cd's would be able to wipe your drive, such as the gparted live cd.

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#4 2018-12-29 21:06:23

progandy
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Registered: 2012-05-17
Posts: 3,308

Re: [WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

I think you could also create a custom initramfs that stops in a shell instead of mounting and running the full linux system. Add all tools necessary for wiping the disk to it and then use them (e.g. dd, shred, ...)


| alias CUTF='LANG=en_XX.UTF-8@POSIX ' |

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#5 2018-12-29 21:21:26

catnap
Member
Registered: 2016-10-03
Posts: 92

Re: [WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

After some trial and error, the simplest solution proved to be using a CD. That does not directly answer the question in the title line. But for me it is good enough.

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#6 2018-12-30 01:44:01

headkase
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Registered: 2011-12-06
Posts: 1,840

Re: [WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

catnap wrote:

That does not directly answer the question in the title line.

The answer is "you don't".  wink  You do what you did.  Use a service tool in whatever form to do the appropriate task.  smile

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#7 2018-12-30 21:18:29

mpan
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Registered: 2012-08-01
Posts: 481
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Re: [WORKAROUND] How to wipe a disk using the disk that is being wiped?

catnap: you may also wish to issue the ATA Secure Erase command after filling the medium with random values. This is not a replacement for filling the medium with random data — the methods are complementary to each other. Filling ensures that all the areas visible to the system are overwritten, while ATA Secure Erase gives some considerable chance that all areas are cleared. Caveot emptor: there were reports of medium becoming unreadable if something goes wrong. Since the operation is performed by firmware itself, you will also not be informed about the progress — so prepare for a long wait during which you don’t know what is really happening.

In the future use encryption on the medium to avoid the need for full-disk erase when passing/dumping it.

Last edited by mpan (2018-12-30 21:20:17)


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