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Data Destruction Techniques for Hard Drive Essay

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2021

The difference between sanitizing and (re)formatting a hard drive

To sanitize a hard drive as used in the problem of data remanence is to remove all the data physically. Thus, they cannot be retrieved. Deleted files still exist in the hard drive and can be retrieved from the recycle bin by opening it and restoring the file. Sanitizing a hard drive will ensure that all the data on the drive are completely wiped out, and there is no way it can be retrieved while a (re)formatted hard drive data is still on the drive, but the drive’s file system has no reference to it. Thus, it will be possible to overwrite that area. However, there are specialized programs that are created to enable data recovery for deleted and formatted data, but only if the physical location was not written over (Bucy, 2005).

Reformatted and deleted files are similar in that they can be retrieved. Three common ways of sanitizing the hard disk are Physical destruction, Overwriting the disk’s data, and Degaussing (Bucy, 2005).

Data destruction techniques

Overwriting

To overwrite the depository with new data means to clean a file or disk. The only way out is to overwrite all the data, while audio and video files are accessible and can be written. However, there is still a problem. Some data on the disk may be impossible to access because of their damage.

Physical destruction

This term means that to destroy a hard drive is the only opportunity to wipe out all the data. However, physical destruction supposes that it is necessary to be very careful because even all the media extras are important and may include some valuable information.

Reformatting

This is generally a recreation of the hard drive. A full format permanently erases everything on the disk as part of the process. A “quick format” may be available, which does not erase everything but marks it as erased with pretty much the same result. However, it is possible to recover some erased information if it has not yet been overwritten.

It is preferable to discard sensitive information as it eliminates any possibilities of retrieval.

References

Bucy, E. (2005). Living in the Information Age: a new media reader (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA : Wadsworth, Thomson Learning.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Data Destruction Techniques for Hard Drive." January 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/data-destruction-techniques-for-hard-drive/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Data Destruction Techniques for Hard Drive'. 23 January.

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