Friday, 3 February 2017

Disc data disposal

I am sure that you have all had to dispose of an old PC, a laptop or external drive, and been faced with removing your data from the HDD in the device. No doubt you will all remember scandals where government departments have simply dumped old PCs, only to have the data on the drives resurrected and published.

Please remember that the same caution needs to hold true for solid state drives such as memory sticks.

Recently I read a post by Ed Bott on TechRepublic about how to reformat a HDD so that the data was not retrievable, and thought I would share that with you. 

Ed said:
The first step with a PC is to reinstall Windows, using the option to delete the existing partitions on the device and then do a clean install. For a secondary disk, you can use the Format command to erase any existing content. But that still leaves the possibility that some data will still be available in the erased space, where a determined spy could recover it using a disk utility.

The solution? Encrypt the disk before formatting it. Without a recovery key, any recovered data will be unreadable. The easiest way to accomplish this on the system drive is to open an elevated command prompt and run the following command:

cipher /w:c:

If you're working with a secondary disk, substitute the drive letter for that drive. [so, for example, cipher /w:d:]

The /w switch stands for wipe, and the result is the effective obliteration of every bit of data in unused disk space, leaving existing files untouched.
A great tip that could save both our privacy and our client data.


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