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Old Aug 2, 2014, 06:25 PM   #1
Babbles
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Permanently Delete Photos Memory Card

Hey y'all!

I'm in the process of selling and updating my camera equipment. As such, I have multiple PNY 64gb memory cards that need to have their data completely erased. Is there a process or application y'all use to remove ALL data from these cards? On smaller cards, I usually fill it up 2-3 times with junk pictures so I'm sure all my personal content is written over.

Too many people are tech savvy and can easily pull up previous files, even when you format card and I just don't want them in my personal stuff.

Thanks for the help!
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Old Aug 2, 2014, 06:38 PM   #2
ChrisA
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Originally Posted by Babbles View Post
Hey y'all!

I'm in the process of selling and updating my camera equipment. As such, I have multiple PNY 64gb memory cards that need to have their data completely erased. Is there a process or application y'all use to remove ALL data from these cards? On smaller cards, I usually fill it up 2-3 times with junk pictures so I'm sure all my personal content is written over.

Too many people are tech savvy and can easily pull up previous files, even when you format card and I just don't want them in my personal stuff.

Thanks for the help!
Try Apple's "Disk Utilty". Select the memory card and then click "erase" Under "security option" move the slider as far to the right as you like.
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Old Aug 2, 2014, 06:54 PM   #3
Apple fanboy
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Originally Posted by Babbles View Post
Hey y'all!

I'm in the process of selling and updating my camera equipment. As such, I have multiple PNY 64gb memory cards that need to have their data completely erased. Is there a process or application y'all use to remove ALL data from these cards? On smaller cards, I usually fill it up 2-3 times with junk pictures so I'm sure all my personal content is written over.

Too many people are tech savvy and can easily pull up previous files, even when you format card and I just don't want them in my personal stuff.

Thanks for the help!
Doesn't reformatting them when you insert them in your camera do that job? Tech savvy people can always find away to recover some of the info, but they are just pictures. I don't think anybody would be that bothered.
If you are really worried, destroy the cards.
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Old Aug 2, 2014, 07:04 PM   #4
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Doesn't reformatting them when you insert them in your camera do that job?
No, it doesn't.
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Old Aug 2, 2014, 07:15 PM   #5
Babbles
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Try Apple's "Disk Utilty". Select the memory card and then click "erase" Under "security option" move the slider as far to the right as you like.
I'll look into this, thanks.

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Doesn't reformatting them when you insert them in your camera do that job? Tech savvy people can always find away to recover some of the info, but they are just pictures. I don't think anybody would be that bothered.
If you are really worried, destroy the cards.
Generally, yes. But I've been told by a few people that while formatting "cleans" your card, the data is still there because the camera is not made for removing data on a memory card, but putting it there.

It's not a huge issue, I just want to protect my private life as much as possible from those who may try and see what I've been doing. It's just a personal preference and I'm looking for help.
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Old Aug 2, 2014, 07:44 PM   #6
compuwar
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Hey y'all!

I'm in the process of selling and updating my camera equipment. As such, I have multiple PNY 64gb memory cards that need to have their data completely erased. Is there a process or application y'all use to remove ALL data from these cards? On smaller cards, I usually fill it up 2-3 times with junk pictures so I'm sure all my personal content is written over.
Erase the card and take pictures of the inside of your lens cap until it's full.

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Old Aug 2, 2014, 09:24 PM   #7
bdj33ranch
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Try Apple's "Disk Utilty". Select the memory card and then click "erase" Under "security option" move the slider as far to the right as you like.
+1 to this. Already available in your Applications > Utilities Folder. With the slider all the way to right this method performs 7 data write passes which meets military standards.

Another option. With the card mounted and open on your Mac desktop drag all the files to the trash and use the “Secure Empty Trash” available under the Finder tab. However, I don’t know how many data write passes that performs. Then, using the aforementioned Disk Utility, you could even reformat the card to Mac OS Extended and then format again back to MS-DOS or exFAT (whatever it is now).
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Old Aug 3, 2014, 12:29 AM   #8
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Formatting your card simply tells the device that the space that once was photos is now available to be written: the content on the disk does not "go away" until it is overwritten with new content.

Apple's secure erase simply writes junk data over and over (you can define how many passes if I remember correctly) so that your old content is thoroughly overwritten and would be very difficult to reconstitute using forensic tools.

The idea of filling the card with photos of the inside of your lens cap is the same idea!
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Old Aug 3, 2014, 12:58 AM   #9
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If your camera is video capable, just record video continuously until the memory card is full. It'll save your shutter / mirror the actuations.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 03:08 PM   #10
danmanc
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permanent deletion

I tried an experiment for this same thing. Delete the card first, then format, take some more more pics then delete and format again. Then turn the flash off and take lots and lots of pictures (it's faster with no flash). My camera has a continuous mode so it's fast. Then fill up the card (set resolution high to fill it faster), then erase and format again. I know it sounds like a lot of work but that was the only thing I found to work. Permanently could not recover the old photos after that. Wish it was simpler!
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 03:32 PM   #11
themumu
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The basic idea of all secure erases is to simply fill it up with junk content (either all binary zeros, or just something random), and then mark than junk content deleted.

If you have access to a computer, you can use the secure erase options of the disk utility.

If all you have is a camera, then delete all files, and record a video of your closed lens cap at the highest resolution and quality settings. It will take a while, but at least it's something you can leave alone and not have to touch until done, unlike filling it up with photos taken in burst mode. After that, just delete the resulting video files and/or format the card.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 03:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by danmanc View Post
I tried an experiment for this same thing. Delete the card first, then format, take some more more pics then delete and format again. Then turn the flash off and take lots and lots of pictures (it's faster with no flash). My camera has a continuous mode so it's fast. Then fill up the card (set resolution high to fill it faster), then erase and format again. I know it sounds like a lot of work but that was the only thing I found to work. Permanently could not recover the old photos after that. Wish it was simpler!
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Originally Posted by themumu View Post
The basic idea of all secure erases is to simply fill it up with junk content (either all binary zeros, or just something random), and then mark than junk content deleted.

If you have access to a computer, you can use the secure erase options of the disk utility.

If all you have is a camera, then delete all files, and record a video of your closed lens cap at the highest resolution and quality settings. It will take a while, but at least it's something you can leave alone and not have to touch until done, unlike filling it up with photos taken in burst mode. After that, just delete the resulting video files and/or format the card.
I'm confused...if security of cards is a concern, what about a few good whacks with a hammer? Memory is pretty cheap these days.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 06:13 PM   #13
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Reformat the card. Copy a massive set of data like all your music library from iTunes onto the card. Reformat the card again.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 06:22 PM   #14
ChrisA
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Originally Posted by danmanc View Post
I tried an experiment for this same thing. Delete the card first, then format, take some more more pics then delete and format again. Then turn the flash off and take lots and lots of pictures (it's faster with no flash). My camera has a continuous mode so it's fast. Then fill up the card (set resolution high to fill it faster), then erase and format again. I know it sounds like a lot of work but that was the only thing I found to work. Permanently could not recover the old photos after that. Wish it was simpler!
As I wrote above. Simply use Apple's "Disk Utility" app. You already have this on your Mac. It will overwrite the card and NOT cause any wear to the camera and it is faster. Why mess with work-arounds?

Macs also have a feature to "empty trash securely" so that simply moving the photo to trash removes the data on the card for good. Enable this in Finder Preferences.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 07:42 PM   #15
Laird Knox
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I'm confused...if security of cards is a concern, what about a few good whacks with a hammer? Memory is pretty cheap these days.
I expect the person he is selling them to would not appreciate that particular method of erasure.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 10:20 PM   #16
themumu
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I'm confused...if security of cards is a concern, what about a few good whacks with a hammer? Memory is pretty cheap these days.
Personally, although I've sold lots of geeky junk over the years, I've never gotten rid of SD cards because they are just too cheap and plentiful to bother. Even have a 256MB Memory Stick Pro in the drawer, useless as it is.

That said, if I were paranoid about my SD cards, I would not trust a hammer. I think incinerating them might be a better choice, but it's for environmentally unfriendly! A powerful acid might do the trick too, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to obtain something powerful enough to melt through the plastic, metal and silicon in the card.
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