Deleting/Shredding is useless ?

mikeinjersey

Solid State Member
Messages
6
I was having an argument with my sister the other day about Deleting / Shredding documents and what can and cannot be recovered.

She is getting a new computer and throwing out the one thats 12 years old. I told her you have to physically destroy the harddrive first or anyone can hack out passwords and other personal info from it.

The way i've been told is that nothing is ever deleted from your computer. Everything remains on the disk unless you physically destroy it. (hammer / fire or whatever)

And that no matter how many times you shred a document, it could always be recovered.

For instance, I was just using Mcafee QuickClean. And it gives you the option to shred as many as 10 times over. But this is useless, is it not?

A funny red warning occurs when you select the Shred option -

"WARNING : Shredded documents will not be able to be recovered"

So do you think this is true ? Does shredding really work ? Im sure any professional hacker could analyse the disk and get info from it. no ?

Any help straightening out this mess would be great.
 

Atomic Rooster

Omnipotent One
Messages
11,161
Location
USA
You can use software that will low level format the drive, effectively wiping all data off the drive so that it can't be recovered. One of the best programs out there is Active@ Kill Disk - Hard Drive Eraser.
Active@ KillDisk - Hard Drive Eraser is powerful and compact software that allows you to destroy all data on hard and floppy drives completely, excluding any possibility of future recovery of deleted files and folders. It's a hard drive and partition eraser utility.
 

DJ-CHRIS1

Golden Master
Messages
5,203
I was having an argument with my sister the other day about Deleting / Shredding documents and what can and cannot be recovered.

She is getting a new computer and throwing out the one thats 12 years old. I told her you have to physically destroy the harddrive first or anyone can hack out passwords and other personal info from it.

The way i've been told is that nothing is ever deleted from your computer. Everything remains on the disk unless you physically destroy it. (hammer / fire or whatever)

And that no matter how many times you shred a document, it could always be recovered.

For instance, I was just using Mcafee QuickClean. And it gives you the option to shred as many as 10 times over. But this is useless, is it not?

A funny red warning occurs when you select the Shred option -

"WARNING : Shredded documents will not be able to be recovered"

So do you think this is true ? Does shredding really work ? Im sure any professional hacker could analyse the disk and get info from it. no ?

Any help straightening out this mess would be great.
Shredders can work fairly well, it would be hard for someone to find out what you were doing. However most important infomation on my computer is highly encrypted :)

You can use software that will low level format the drive, effectively wiping all data off the drive so that it can't be recovered. One of the best programs out there is Active@ Kill Disk - Hard Drive Eraser.
The most popular software and DOD approved is DBAN, and it's free. Just search it up on google.
 

mikeinjersey

Solid State Member
Messages
6
Interesting. I always thought some expert company could physically analyze the harddrive (take it apart and everything) and retrieve everything that way. For instance, remember the "BTK Killer" he used one of those Harddrive Eraser programs yet the FBI still recovered everything..lol I remember they reported that on the news.. that he thought he wiped the drive clean. And thats what got him arrested. the data was still there.

I looked into that DBAN. Looks like a decent program. But is there one that keeps the stuff thats currently on your drive..but erases / shreds everything thats already been emptied out of your recycle bin? Basically, deletes/shreds everything thats already been deleted.
 

ssc456

Fully Optimized
Messages
4,279
there is truth in what you are saying,

for example :

if some1 was using there computer to say meet up with an underage girl and he shredded / formatted the hardrive chances are if the police found the hardrive and really really wanted the info they could do it,

your best bet is to hit it with a hammer ..... hard lol

its usually over cautios but its just not worth the risk
 

Raffaz

Golden Master
Messages
6,798
There are ways that the data could be recovered by the police if needed. But lets be realistic here, its your sisters pc so who is going to want to do it? The programs mentioned above will be fine.
 

mammikoura

Golden Master
Messages
7,459
I heard that there are ways to recover data even if you smash the harddrive into a 1000 pieces. But I'd imagine that kinda equipment are only available to the police and the military and other organizations like that.

Burning the hdd with thermite MIGHT do the trick. :p
But unless she is being chased by the fbi (or something similar) I would just stick to using one of those programs mentioned above.
 

blackjack

Fully Optimized
Messages
2,945
There are ways that the data could be recovered by the police if needed. But lets be realistic here, its your sisters pc so who is going to want to do it? The programs mentioned above will be fine.
I agree, why bother with going to extreme measures unless you have some pretty hot stuff on it(which I doubt) just wipe the drive/reformat if your still concerned about passwords being retrieved then change them all as soon as your new PC is up and running
 

DJ-CHRIS1

Golden Master
Messages
5,203
I agree, why bother with going to extreme measures unless you have some pretty hot stuff on it(which I doubt) just wipe the drive/reformat if your still concerned about passwords being retrieved then change them all as soon as your new PC is up and running
Never trust anyone :) Always keep important data as safe as possible.

Interesting. I always thought some expert company could physically analyze the harddrive (take it apart and everything) and retrieve everything that way. For instance, remember the "BTK Killer" he used one of those Harddrive Eraser programs yet the FBI still recovered everything..lol I remember they reported that on the news.. that he thought he wiped the drive clean. And thats what got him arrested. the data was still there.

I looked into that DBAN. Looks like a decent program. But is there one that keeps the stuff thats currently on your drive..but erases / shreds everything thats already been emptied out of your recycle bin? Basically, deletes/shreds everything thats already been deleted.
If you just use a computer based shredder, thats fairly poor security and the US goverment still should be able to get your data. If you want to hide something from anyone (including goverment and worlds most skilled hackers), im the person to talk to :)
 
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