Hard drive file removal/cleansing

  john-212002 23:13 17 Sep 07

To remove sensitive files from a hard drive, why do we need complex software?
As the memory is finite, why not just fill it by saving a non sensitive file which is large enough to fill the available space indicated as being available? By repeating this process, wouldn't the memory be cleansed of the original sensitive files and the space be occupied by the non sensitive?
The bogus file is easily compiled - I would simply keep copying and saving a large CAD file, photo or movie.
Seems to be too simple to work. Where am I wrong?

  skidzy 23:21 17 Sep 07

Though data is overwritten it can still be accessible by certain software.
In my view,a drive is never totally cleansed.

Best way to wipe a drive...is with a big hammer !!!

  DieSse 00:38 18 Sep 07

You're sort of correct. However first you must delete all the files already on it, as old files are not simply overwritten unless the space they occupy has been marked as empty by previous file deletion.

Unless you do this a large number of times with the correctly formulated data patterns, there is sophisticated equipment which can read written over files (but is normally only available to specialist organisations.)

This is why there are (free and commercial) products to do the job for you. They use the best data patterns and do the overwriting in a manner guaranteed to make the data unobtainable again for all practicable circumstances.

It simply isn't necessary to physically destroy drives, apart from being a senseless waste of rersources.

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