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hard drive failing, need help cleansing

ccm001

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Mar 22, 2008
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Halifax
Here's one for you fine folks :)

I have an infamous seagate 7200.11 1.5tb hardrive that's failing. It has the supossed good firmware (cc1h). The drive reads very slow, and writes super slow, always stalling and locking up during big writes. I can watch the write speed drop steadily down to nothing.

I've already spoken to the shop where I bought it and they are going to replace it for me as its under warranty. This happens when its connected to 3 different computers so they are pretty confident it is the drive itself.

Here's my issue: I have personal financial data on it (I've always made backups, so I did not lose any data). I cannot even wipe the drive clean as it locks up soon into any wipe program I use. Even using a boot cd within a dos or linux enviro, the wipe/erase locks up. I want to make sure the data is erased as good as it can be, or at least fragmented enough that it would be very unlikely that anything could ever be put together.

Any suggestions? I've managed through a couple of programs where I can manually select sector by sector ranges to (I think) write all zeroes or patterns of "HDAT" to most of the drive, but only one pass. And even doing this took days. Do you think that's enough to render any personal data unretrievable?

I was wondering about the drive's supposed built in secure erase. I'd run tools to use it, but if the drive locks up during the erase and I have to turn it off, I've read that the drive would be in a physical locked state. I'm sure that the shop I return it to would want to test it to make sure its faulty, so I wouldn't want it to be locked up so they can't even test it.

As always, appreciate any help or ideas.
 

sswilson

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Talk to the folks at the shop and explain to them what's going on. Perhaps they'd be willing to run a quick test to verify that it's toast, and then let you run a a 5/8 bit drill through it.... ;)
 

ilya

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If they won't let you destroy the drive try Parted Magic or some other Linux utility distro that runs off RAM. Make sure you have all your drives unplugged except for the faulty drive and try to brute force DBAN it.

If that doesn't work get some rare earth magnets and hope for the best.
 

ccm001

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Mar 22, 2008
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Halifax
Talk to the folks at the shop and explain to them what's going on. Perhaps they'd be willing to run a quick test to verify that it's toast, and then let you run a a 5/8 bit drill through it.... ;)
That would do the trick wouldn't it, lol.

@ilya: DBAN is one of the programs I've tried from a bootcd. The write speed starts at 50,000plus KB/s and quickly drops within a minute to 2000something, and then it stops with an error message of some kind. Would parted magic make a difference when the issue is with the drive itself?
 

sswilson

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That would do the trick wouldn't it, lol.

@ilya: DBAN is one of the programs I've tried from a bootcd. The write speed starts at 50,000plus KB/s and quickly drops within a minute to 2000something, and then it stops with an error message of some kind. Would parted magic make a difference when the issue is with the drive itself?
At one time, it was how the military disposed of drives which may have had sensitive material on them. I'd say it would be pretty effective, especially since the platters would more than likely shatter inside the HDD case.

You could always put a query on kijiji to see if anybody still has an electro-magnet bulk erasure kicking around.
 

_dangtx_

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look for some strong magnets and let them near(put a paper on it so it doesn;t get scratched) for a little while,. industrial magnets will work out great, just make sure theres no physical damage to the casing,labels,etc.
 

KaptCrunch

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ccm001 know any doctors that run a MRI to pass it through the machine to dis-fagmented drive or sswilson suggestion
 

Behemoth-

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Feb 5, 2010
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370
I had a failing 7200.11 few days ago. It was kind of failing badly, with ~6Mb transfer speeds, and stopping any activity every 5-6 seconds. It wasn't even detected by any O/S. Ran Seatools, It had 3 bad sectors. Seatools then tried to repair them, quite successfully actually, and now the drive is working like a new... maybe you give seatools a try.
 

ccm001

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Mar 22, 2008
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Halifax
I had a failing 7200.11 few days ago. It was kind of failing badly, with ~6Mb transfer speeds, and stopping any activity every 5-6 seconds. It wasn't even detected by any O/S. Ran Seatools, It had 3 bad sectors. Seatools then tried to repair them, quite successfully actually, and now the drive is working like a new... maybe you give seatools a try.
It's one of the first things I tried, thinking it was bad sectors, but it passed the tests (long and short) with no errors. I don't think its the platters, I think its a firmware or a problem with the read/write arm.
 

DCCV44.2223

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Apr 1, 2010
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Vancouver
Any suggestions? I've managed through a couple of programs where I can manually select sector by sector ranges to (I think) write all zeroes or patterns of "HDAT" to most of the drive, but only one pass. And even doing this took days. Do you think that's enough to render any personal data unretrievable?
If you've zero'd the files, then it's not worth anyone's effort to try and recover them unless they think there'll be millions $$$ worth of reward at the end. (In which case, I'd suggest you just smash the HDD with a hammer and forget about the $100... And let me know where to send you the bill... :thumb:)

However, that doesn't mean bits of older versions saved in different sectors won't exist, but having to manually trawl for them is time consuming and again odds are no one would bother unless there's good chance of profit.

Eraser

Eraser has an option that will wipe unused sector but you may have problem running it like the others that you've tried.

Was the data originally encrypted? If it was, that would further hinder recovery.

If you can't wipe, can you still write files to the disk? If you can still write, make a new folder, enable encryption, then add files to the new encrypted folder and fill up the HDD.
 

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