drive wipe

Lonnie Olson lists at
Thu Oct 23 14:49:56 MDT 2008

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:58 PM, Dr. Scott S. Jones <scott at> wrote:
> What does one use to wipe a drive, what application? I have a few that I
> need to clean up...and overwrite, to protect patient data.

Like everyone else has said, there are many ways to wipe your data.
Each with it's own level of security.
The value/privacy of the data is what you should think about when
determining what method to use.

"patient data" sounds like it could be really sensitive.  Especially
since the passing of HIPPA.  You may need to check HIPPA regulations
regarding disposal of patient data.

Here is a list of options to you, in order of difficulty to reverse:
1. Format the drive (mkfs)
2. Overwrite files with random data (shred)
3. Overwrite the disk with zeros (dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda)
4. Multipass overwrite of the disk with random data (dd
if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/hda)
5. Drill holes into the disk after completing step 3 or 4
6. Melt down the plates themselves in a furnace

Since you are talking about "patient data" I would suggest a minimum
of 4 or higher.


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