Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2459 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] scrathsing old harddisks
  • From: "Greg Freemyer" <greg.freemyer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 12:56:00 -0400
  • Message-id: <87f94c370803270956i48f8af19vbe9805c7ce89a821@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 12:47 PM, Per Jessen <per@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Kai Ponte wrote:

> On Thursday 27 March 2008 07:48:47 am Bob Rea wrote:
>> > U.S. government SECRET requires a low-level format.
>> How does one do a low level format? I got asked to do this
>> at work but no one would tell me how.
> Typically that's at the BIOS level. You do this from there.

Typically you won't find such an option in a modern BIOS. I'm not sure
the IDE commandset even supports it anymore. A "low-level format" is a
left-over from days long gone.

Not really the same but ATA has a "security erase" command now. And
has for many years.

In theory the drive has the ability to enhance the voltage going to
the head and it overwrites all sectors, not just the user addressible
ones. ie. bad blocks, HPAs, DCO protected, spare blocks, etc. I've
read that the US government will accept a Security Erase as a disk
wipe. I have not seen official docs to that effect.

You can issue it via hdparm, but in my testing a lot of bios's block
it from getting to the drive, so you need to test that it is working
for you.

If it does get to the drive it should take a long time to complete.

Greg Freemyer
Litigation Triage Solutions Specialist
First 99 Days Litigation White Paper -

The Norcross Group
The Intersection of Evidence & Technology
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