How do I erase a broken HD that I'm returning to Best Buy

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by pilotkid, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. pilotkid macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
    #1
    Hey everyone! I bought a Seagate 500GB 7200RPM hard drive from Best Buy about two weeks ago. Well it failed 3 days ago. In that two weeks I had done a Time Machine restore and all of that stuff so I have all of my personal/private stuff and information on this hard drive. How do I erase it before returning it to Best Buy? Do I trust that they'll take care of it? I have tried putting it in a computer to reformat it, it wont even work for that...:confused:
     
  2. SpeedFleX macrumors 6502

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    Apr 22, 2009
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    Interwebz
    #2
    I dont know how personal it is but how do you trust people you don't know?

    Your computer can't even format it so there is a rare chance that best buy wont either, they will prolly send it to seagate and I doubt seagate will try to fix it really prolly just give you a new one...
     
  3. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #3
    I use this...

    http://www.datalinksales.com/degaussers/hd1.htm

    Works. There are many others. Magnetic media eraser is what you are looking for. Pretty high power too. Tape erasers don't work. Need to be 4000 Gauss or better.

    I have two of the exact drives here that got replaced because they are noisy. Just made sure they are unusable. They are dead.
     
  4. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 22, 2006
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    Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
    #4
    I dont need a new one, I'm just going to return it all together. I dont have anything too personal on there but I have about 2000 pictures of family and friends and a couple of documents that are somewhat personal(resume, etc.) but what i'm worried about is passwords that are saved online. Are those saved on that HD so that when someone puts in the HD and go to the same website will the username and passwords still be filled in? Thats whats most important because those are online banking websites.
     
  5. TJRiver macrumors 6502

    TJRiver

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    #5
    Degaussing the broken drive is a great idea, but $2,400 for a device to deal with $75 drive could be a bit much. It would make a lot more sense for the warranty agent (Best Buy) to have one of these and wipe the drive after they confirm it is defective, right in front of the customer, to ensure the customer's private info is protected.

    This raises an interesting problem in today's age. How to protect (or destroy) private information stored on eletronic devices? Hopefully everyone is backing up, but what to do when the time comes to replace a broken drive? As far as the original poster goes, with hard drive prices being what they are, I would simply physically destroy the broken drive (unless you have one of those $2,400 degaussers hanging around the garage) and buy a replacement, rather than handing the drive over to Best Buy (or anyone else).
     
  6. techfreak85 macrumors 68040

    techfreak85

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    #6
    if it is truely broken, then you cant get the info off of it, nor can u erase it.:rolleyes:
     
  7. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #7
    Yes if that drive is put back into service that info can be recovered BUT you can go to all the site before you turn that drive in and replace all of your passwords with new ones. Do it NOW...
     
  8. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #8
    Agree with this.

    What the OP might try, is to take the HD into Best Buy and show them that it doesn't work. Once they agree, tell them that it has sensitive personal information and you want to destroy the HD on the spot. They might agree with doing that. If not, then say thanks and take the drive home and destroy the contents.

    A small price to pay for piece of mind.
     
  9. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    Jun 20, 2009
    #9
    If the data is physically there, its possible.
     
  10. techfreak85 macrumors 68040

    techfreak85

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    #10
    so i say, Take a drill to it.
    :p

    but since u want some $$ out of it, dont:p
     
  11. d_saum macrumors 6502

    d_saum

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Location:
    NC
    #11
    Put it in the microwave for 5 or 6 seconds. That'll take care of ANY data on the platters ;)


    Throw a CD-r in there for a cool little light show. Should be the same thing going on in a HDD.
     
  12. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #12
    Interesting question. Is it worth more than the $50 or so the drive cost to keep the data private?

    If you stand to lose more than $50 or suffer more than $50 of embarassment, then the answer is destroy the drive.

    If less, then return the drive for a refund. Adding more damage (e.g. attacking it with a screwdriver) might possibly get you charged with fraud.

    Good suggestion above to ask Best Buy to destroy it in your presence. Tell them it has confidential financial information on it.
     
  13. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #13
    This works because the back of the label side is where the data is stored.

    Never tried this, but don't think that it will work.

    On a HD, the information is magnetically stored on the surface and within the platter.
     
  14. d_saum macrumors 6502

    d_saum

    Joined:
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    #14
    I'll bet you a dollar it works. ;) Ya know... I might have an old 6 or 10GB drive around.... I may just try it for laughs.
     
  15. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    Mar 23, 2008
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    #15
    On a physical basis, it won't work.

    If the platters are still in the drive, MW won't penetrate past the casing.

    If the platters are out, the glass is too reflective and MW won't affect the magnetics. And this would invalidate the TSs return, anyway.
     
  16. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ/Chicago, IL
    #16

    It was $145 and some change...Anyways, I already returned it. I asked what happens to it and the customer service lady said that they'll ship it straight back to seagate and they'll either refurbish it (and reformat) or destroy it.
    Thanks for everyone's help!
     
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #17
    That's what I'm thinking.

    No bet.

    Feel free to knock yourself out. :)
     

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