Secrets about hard drive recovery and wiping

Last Updated on April 14, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

Recovery. I found this link while messing around: 200 ways to revive a dead hard drive. I’ve used some of these methods myself in the past. I imagine I’ll get to use more of them in the future.

Wiping. I needed a program yesterday to securely wipe out a hard drive. I was just going to low-level format it, but Western Digital’s drive suite, whatever it’s called, refused to do anything to the drive because it was returning an error code of 0207. The drive still worked, but according to my Web search, an 0207 means imminent failure. Hey, that’s why I needed to low-level the drive–we got a replacement for it and had to send this one back, but the drive was in an executive’s computer and probably had sensitive data on it.

Incidentally, if you’re getting an 0207 and you’re here because you want to know what to do about it, back up your data immediately and get it replaced under warranty. No, it’s not practical to fix it. If it’s out of warranty, I’m sorry. Sadly, it happens.

But I digress. How do you wipe the drive to ensure no one’s reading your sensitive data? I found some DOS freeware to do it at my usual sources, but one of them wouldn’t run under Win9x’s DOS, and the drive is too big to be recognized under 6.22. Another one wouldn’t handle drives bigger than 2 gig. Another one seemed to work, but seemed awfully fast.

Disk wiping isn’t a terribly complicated thing, so maybe I should just write a program myself to do it. It’s been forever since I programmed, and I do kind of enjoy doing that… once a year. Or every couple of years.

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5 thoughts on “Secrets about hard drive recovery and wiping

  • April 18, 2003 at 10:27 pm

    my 6.2g ide drive used for file storage semi crashed in 08/02
    the seagate utils ” fixed” it except for very minor
    errors. later 3 months later, it did the same thing but even worse.
    after running every util overnight and findong mics errors here and there
    and a large bad block from 81% on, i was able use it.
    foolishly, i fdisked it and used it with 2 partitions
    because i couldn’t completely format it.
    I searched for a “relaxed” format program that would
    let me format the drive and not quit midway. or at 81%
    Finally, i fdisked again and formatted the drive with seagate disk manager
    This format did noit look for errors and went right thru in a few minutes.
    i ran scandisk and ndd again ( overnight) abd i have a
    one partition drive again. I am careful NOT to fill it up.
    it is likely I can with no problems, but at least I can use it for temporary storage.
    I STILL WOULD like a “relaxed format ” util.

  • August 8, 2003 at 10:35 am

    check it out

  • February 19, 2004 at 1:53 am

    i had a hard disk 6.2 of Western digital
    I test one and receive a error code 0207.
    So i’d like to fix it.
    reply to my email: as soon as possible.

  • February 19, 2004 at 12:21 pm

    Back it up immediately and get it replaced under warranty. There’s nothing foolproof about hard drive repair, and it’s way beyond the ability of the vast majority of computer professionals, let alone hobbyists.

    And yes, if you’re getting SMART messages or error codes, regardless of the error code and the make of the drive, this is pretty much all you can do.

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