How can I remove all personal data from my Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dh2005, May 10, 2011.

  1. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #1
    Hello folks,

    I just sold a Mini on eBay. I'm liquidating four computers/consoles to buy a Mac Pro.

    Is there a way of getting rid of everything that I've put onto it in the past ten months? I was thinking, maybe, about reinstalling the OS - will that wipe-away everything that was previously on the hard drive?

    Thanks in advance,



    DH.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Use your installation disc and reformat the drive a few times.
     
  3. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #4
    Once is more than enough.
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #5
    If one chooses to securely erase the HDD. Otherwise a simple reformat will not delete any data.
     
  5. kazmac macrumors 601

    kazmac

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    in stasis
    #6
    this is a great thread

    Thanks, glad to know I only have to perform a single secured erase.

    I was one of those people under the impression you had to do at least 7 or more passes of secured erase to effectively wipe the hard drive.
     
  6. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #7
    No. A single pass will remove data beyond what anyone, even the government, can recover.

    And in any case, if you're allowed to post on public forums its likely that what information you have isn't important enough for anyone to really care about stealing. :)
     
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #8
    Even though that isn't true, I agree with the second part of your statement.

     
  8. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #9
    Hi guys,
    there is NOT a way to get rid of most of the bits on your HD with ANY software...
    Only secure deletion is by:
    Destroying the HD physically - smashing or cutting it up in VERY small pieces.
    De-magnetizing the HD - but I doubt you could find a magnet strong enough to do it nowdays...(Because of the DENSITY of todays HD).
     
  9. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #10
    That is false information. There is no company or agency in the world that can economically recover reassembleable data from a hard drive that has been overwritten.
    The only potential methods cost several million dollars and, again, if you're allowed to post on a public forum the information you have on your hard drive is not valuable.

    And if the data IS that valuable then releasing the drive into somebody elses hands is not an option. After erasing it the drive would have to be physically destroyed to meet government and government contractor data protection standards.

    That is false information. A single bit-by-bit overwrite will render any data previously on the drive 100% unrecoverable.

    Density plays no part in a platter's magnetic resistance.
     
  10. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #11
    ...and you obviously don't know much about it, also.
    (Please don't start telling us that you are in the business of recovering data and bla, bla, bla...)
     
  11. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #12
    Then why do you bother wasting our time?
     
  12. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #13
    Subscribing to thread. Aren't there layers of data which are recoverable under an overwritten hdd, especially a hurriedly re-formatted hdd. Have I always been right/ wrong about this or has technology changed while I was out back taking a leak?

    And to the OP, one re-formatting will suffice for re-sale unless it's something illegal you're trying to hide and then they're going to get you no matter what you try to do to erase that evidence. ;)
     
  13. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #14
    35 pass erase is very hard to find anything even 7 pass is very good.
     
  14. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #15
    Please read about these on dedicated forums for this kind of problems, not on here.
    You will net get much help on 'MacRumors' about it (the name says it all).
     
  15. TechnoDestructo macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #16
    No. There is only one layer of magnetic material on a hard drive's platter. Once a bit is changed there is no possible way to determine later on if its magnetic polarity was changed.

    A plain reformat leaves all the data intact, it merely removes the structure that says what file is where. A complete erase must be done to remove all data.

    A single pass is extremely difficult to recover anything! Two passes makes it physically impossible, especially if its overwritten with random ASCII characters instead of a plain zero out.

    Especially from Stan Mikulenka, he believes the rumor that overwritten data can be recovered!
     
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    He's back! Let's see if he can behave this time... :D
     
  17. dh2005 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #18
    Thanks for these replies. I was thinking it was just a simple "d'uh!!! Don't you know anything?!" type-question. Wasn't expecting a lively debate!

    It's not 'sensitive' data or anything. But there are lots of programs that I've installed - iWorks, MS Office, stuff like that - that I want to take with me to my next computer. Rather than uninstalling them one by one, I was thinking that a reformat and reinstall of the OS would be simpler.

    Thoughts?
     
  18. Nabby macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #19
    If you're more worried about programs than data, a reformat should be fine for your needs. If you have a small amount of data, delete it and then use the secure empty trash command to empty the trash.

    As mentioned above, most of the methods to reformat are good enough that the value of the data that might be recovered is less than the cost to recover it. So while something might be TECHNICALLY possible, it may also be FINANCIALLY impossible...or at least impractical...

    Just my 2 cents.


    Nabby
     
  19. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #20
    Interesting twist this thread has taken.

    If the OP isn't a spy trying to protect classified secrets, a secure erase of the hard drive is more than enough, as the third poster said. The buyer isn't going to go to elaborate lengths to recover securely deleted personal information.
     

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