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Solved How to securely wipe a flash drive?

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Brandon Byrnes

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#1
Long story short, I ned to securely wipe a flash drive. How can I do that. Please don't suggest throwing away, or smashing it, and the fact that flash drives are so inexpensive nowadays. This is a 512GB flash drive and I paid about $150.00 for it so smashing or throwing away is not an option, I need to wipe it so NOTHING can be recovered. I am selling it to a tech savvy friend who I just know is going to want to see what I've had on it. I've tried using Heidi Erasure but it seems to always come up with errors when trying to wipe and overwrite files on flash drives and SSD's.
 

Bruce

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#5
what am I missing here?
why not just right click on the drive, select Format and untick Quick Format.
that'll do a low-level format, writing either 1's or 0's to all the memory cells.

then use defrag x: /v /l to force a TRIM and clear out the garbage collector. (where x: is your drive letter)

and to see what's left behind, use something like Recuva by Piriform (the free version offers the same recovery options as the Pro) and see what it finds after the format.
 

Brandon Byrnes

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#6
So I used dban and it worked fine, but in the process of looking for programs I found a good one called Parted Magic, which includes dban and a couple other options for wiping a drive, along with some options for file recovery so I could test out how well the wipe worked. Its a bootable iso so I put it on a flashdrive. I like the look of it and it does everything in a Linux enviroment. The only thing is when I tried using the built in dban program it wouldn't work. I selected the drive, selected the method of wipe and then you are supposed to press "S" to start the wipe but it didn't do anything. Does anyone have any experiance with Parted Magic, that could help me?
One thing that was giving me a problem when I used the regular dban program was I had to turn off UEFI inorder for it it work. Is this the issue that Parted Magic is having with it's version of Dban? I would really like to be able to get it working. I much prefer the Parted Magic Version since I can still use my computer while it is wiping the drive.
 

Rustys

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#7
According to the Partition Magic web site

The Parted Magic download is a boot disk operating system that runs from a CD/DVD or USB drive independently of your installed OS. No installation necessary. When planning to use a CD/DVD medium for the Parted Magic OS, the ISO file will then be burned to the CD/DVD as an image. Simply copying the ISO file directly to the CD/DVD will not work. Read the instructions below to burn this ISO image to a CD/DVD or to write this ISO image to a U S B flash drive. Your media can then be booted using the computer’s BIOS/UEFI boot device menu when first turned on. You may need to adjust your BIOS/UEFI boot order settings to use CD/DVD/U S B devices first. Your installed OS may boot first if you don’t.
 

Brandon Byrnes

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#8
Okay new update, I was able to get dban to work within Parted Magic, I feel like a dumba$$. In order to start the wipe process you have to press s, well I was pressing s and it wasn't working, well it turns out I had to press shift+s, so a capital s. It was all command prompt style so I didn't think of that and the other shortcut letter keys were working without having to capitalize the letter. So yeah it works now, LOL.
Now the other problem I'm having it getting wifi to work within Parted Magic. It detects my network, I connect and it connects for about one second then disconnects, I think this may be becuase this is a live cd type enviroment? When I use it it actually runs off of RAM, so that I can remove the flash drive that it is on and still use it, but I'm assuming since it's still a live cd enviroment that it doesn' t have the correct drivers to use wifi. That's the main reason for using this program was becuase I could use dban and still be able to use my computer while it wiped. Any suggestions?
 

Rustys

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#9
When I use it it actually runs off of RAM, so that I can remove the flash drive that it is on and still use it, but I'm assuming since it's still a live cd enviroment that it doesn' t have the correct drivers to use wifi.
In a word no the disk is required to be in so the software can be ran since it may have to reference something that is on that disk. Correct it is limited as to what it can do so you may not be able to access the WiFi. All you should be able to do is Boot and run the software that is it no frills.

Now the other problem I'm having it getting wifi to work within Parted Magic
Why do you need WiFi?

Why not just let Windows create the partition and format the drive?
 

Brandon Byrnes

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#10
In a word no the disk is required to be in so the software can be ran since it may have to reference something that is on that disk. Correct it is limited as to what it can do so you may not be able to access the WiFi. All you should be able to do is Boot and run the software that is it no frills.


Why do you need WiFi?

Why not just let Windows create the partition and format the drive?
Thanks for the reply. I think you are thinking of Partition Magic, I am using Parted Magic. The main reason I used Parted Magic was because it gives me the ability to use dban, and also be able to use my computer while dban is wiping a drive. As you know with dban, you are stuck having to wait for dban to wipe before you are able to use your computer for anything, which sucks if you are wiping a 1 or 2TB drive which can take a day or two to finish.

I was hoping to get wifi to work within Part Magic so that I would be able to go on the internet and go about my normal routine while dban was wiping, but for some reason it won't let me use wifi. I may have the ability to hook my computer up to a Ethernet cable but that's to much of an inconvenience since my router is located three rooms away. I know there has to be some way considering Parted Magic includes Firefox on the desktop and it gives you the option to connect to a wifi network or setup a wifi connection.
 

Rustys

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#11
I would be able to go on the internet and go about my normal routine while dban was wiping
Should not do that any ways. Should the system crash you have to start over again if it did not complete or the dive may get damaged where it is a paperweight. Which is why I start one and leave it running on a system that is and use another system.

I also us Linux to wipe partitions and data form a drive or use diskpart in windows to wipe partitions. I have never had a one terabyte drive take longer than 12 hours to wipe and zero out.

I know there has to be some way considering Parted Magic includes Firefox on the desktop and it gives you the option to connect to a wifi network or setup a wifi connection.
You may have to install the driver since live version are limited as to what they can do compared to the installed version. That is if the drivers will even install for the live version. I have a one that even the installed version did not plug and play with a WiFi card and had to still install the drivers.
 

Brandon Byrnes

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#12
Yeah at this point I'm just gonna take what I can get. I guess I'm okay with the limited functionality of Parted Magic, atleast I can still watch a movie or something while it wipes and that is better than not being able to use my laptop at all while it wipes.
 
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