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Wipe Disk To Rid Off Hard Drive Data

May 7, 2008
As people become more technologically-savvy, the more imperative it is for both individuals and business organizations to take data security measures more seriously. This is where wipe disk tools come in handy.

In the context of data security, the term "wipe disk" refers to the complete deletion of all files that are contained in a hard disk drive including associated programs or traces that can be used to restore any file. The need for wiping a disk may arise when a computer user or a business organization decides to use entirely new computer units. This may also be the case when an organization ceases to exist and all its assets are sold or liquidated. By deleting all files stored in a hard drive, the confidentiality and security of such files are maintained. The downside here is the fact that mere deletion of files is sometimes not sufficient. Hours could be spent going through and deleting all files in a hard drive. However, deleting all these files though the delete key will most likely just erase their shortcuts. The reality is that the deleted files are still stored in the hard drive and that they only became invisible because their shortcuts had been deleted. These data can easily be restored even by unauthorized users through any of the system recovery application software widely available online. Instead of merely deleting files in the hard drive, some individuals and business organizations choose to format the hard drive. This action is considered to be more secure than the first method. However, formatting will only delete address tables, and while file recovery is made more difficult, such could still be done by a skilled computer specialist.

Perhaps the most secure process of deleting files in the hard disk is disk wiping. It is a generally a secure process of ensuring that data is irrecoverably deleted or removed before they can be donated or given away by the current PC owner. It is so effective that it can even delete licensed software in computers and storage devices, like compact discs or CDs. Disk wiping tools and programs work by overwriting an entire hard drive with data multiple times. When this happens, it becomes impossible to retrieve and recover data stored before the overwriting is done. Typically, these applications will overwrite all sectors of the hard drive, including the partition table and master boot record.

There is an abundant array of disk wiping applications available for computer users. The government standard is a medium security level application that specifies overwriting a hard drive six times through three iterations. Each iteration consists of two write-passes on a hard drive. The first iteration removes the files over at the drive surface, while the second iteration registers "zeros" on the surface. Finally, the government-designated code of 246 is assigned to a drive when the third iteration culminates. The only disadvantage of opting to wipe disk is the time it requires to do so. If time is of the essence, the services of technology security companies may be availed.
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