Dell PowerEdge Erase Hard Disk Problem


I've got an argument going on that I need a little help settling. I have a few PowerEdge servers ranging from 23xx's to 43xx's. We are looking at giving them away to charity and I need to ensure that all the information on them has been removed.

I'm convinced that I can complete a low level format on them using the Raid Controller software to make remove all of my data. The reasoning behind this is because they were all originally part of a RAID 1 / 5 etc config the data would have been scattered over different drives..

My colleague has said I need to perform a scan which will write 0 and 1’s to the drive but doesn’t a low level format do something similar anyway.. Hence why its low level not a standard Windows Format..

Message Edited by Rob_991 on 07-28-2005 10:35 AM

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Re: Dell PowerEdge Erase Hard Disk Problem


The term "low level format" refers to the physical track and sector layout of disks in a hard drive.  This format is good for the life of the drive and is normally (99.999 % of the time) not beneficial to the user.  What you are attempting to do can be accomplished easiest by using a program called KillDisk (killdisk.com.)  There is both a free version and a purchaseable (Pro) version.  The free version will do one pass of the drive, writing 0's and 1's to all sectors; the Pro version allows you to specify how many passes and patterns to write, or you can choose from several predefined erasing schemes. 

Since you're giving the servers to charity it might be worth your while to purchase the Pro version, also, while doing one pass on the drive is better than none at all, most organizations that are concerned with or track data theft suggest that you do a minimum of three passes (if you really want to be safe, do five to seven passes.)  Be forewarned, doing one pass on a 146 GB SCSI drive took 1.25 hours.

Either the Pro or free version can be put on a bootable floppy (I know the free version runs an executable that creates the floppy for you.)

Hope that helps.

Good luck


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