Deleting Dying HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by capitanbuzo, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. capitanbuzo macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    I have a 2TB Western Digital drive in my MP that I use as my Time Machine drive. I noticed to day that Disc Utility says it sails SMART check or something like that and that there is physical damage to the drive and to take any data off of it while I can. I tried to do that but it doesn't seem to work (also the reason why I noticed the problem in the first place). I don't really need the data off of it but I would like to at least erase it before I RMA it. Disc Utility cannot unmount the drive so I cannot erase it that way. When I just try to delete the backups, it will not let me. Any ideas?
  2. Cmd-the-World macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    I don't know how to erase the data by software when the drive is in your state.

    However you can always open it up and destroy the platters. ;) Most drives, as far as I know, use T8 Torx screws. All you need is open it up and destroy the platters with a hammer. If you are really paranoid then throw the pieces away at different locations and at different days and times.

    You can always do what these people did at the 2:45 mark

    But if you do wear eye protection and protective clothing.
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    might be hard to rma it then
  4. somnolik macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2011
    What Cindori said.

    Also, though it might be a bit of overkill, one possible option would be to boot a Live Linux from CD/DVD (booting non OS X Systems from USB seems to be tricky) and overwrite the drive with zeroes.

    I've tried this with a Xubuntu 9 i had lying around, but I guess you could do it with any recent distro. You can get one here. What you wanna do is remove all hard disks from your system except the one you want to erase. Then boot your Mac into Linux (press Option key at boot time, select 'Windows' from CD, then 'Try Linux without installing') and open up a terminal (most likely you'll find one in Applications->Accessories->Terminal). Then you enter:
    ls /dev/sd*
    which should give you something like this:
    /dev/sda   /dev/sda1   /dev/sda2
    sda is the whole disk, sda1 and sda2 are the single partitions. Since you've removed all other hard disks, there should be only one whole disk listed. Note: USB media would show up here as well.
    !!!You definitely want to make sure that you've got the right disk, because next we're gonna overwrite every single byte on it!!!
    And that's how:
    sudo -s
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda
    This could very well take a couple of hours to complete. After it's done, your hard disk is full of 0s, which should be enough for keeping some hypothetical sleazy guy at WD watching your family videos. (Brrr, creepy thought.)

    Please use this info at your own discretion, i have to stress it once more: this erases one complete drive. Afterwards, everything on it will be gone.

    Good luck.
  5. capitanbuzo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    I might try this. Do you think I will need to put my original graphics card into the machine? Currently, I am running a flashed 5770 so some times I have problems with the video showing up.
  6. somnolik macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2011
    I guess you'll be fine with any card. Linux (& Windows) seem to be much more tolerant with 3rd party graphics cards than OS X.
  7. capitanbuzo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    Probably right. It boots into DOS correctly so shouldn't be any hassle then.
  8. capitanbuzo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    Well I guess it started to act a little nicer and started to be a tad more responsive allowing me to erase the drive in Disc Utility. It still says that the drive is broken so gonna have to RMA it I guess.

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