Video: Hard drives: Safe ways to dump your data
If you only have a few hard drives to erase, then a software solution such as DBAN or a hardware solution such as using a hammer to pound 6-inch nails through the drives is workable. But if you go through a lot of drives, or you've allowed the disposal pile to get a bit out of control, you need something that's a little more professional.
Enter the StarTech four-bay drive eraser.
Regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of wiping drives by either using DBAN or just taking the 700-pound gorilla approach and hammering nails through them. But these methods have drawbacks.
As good as the DBAN software is, it's not perfect. It means dedicating a PC to the wiping task, the software doesn't support the Secure Erase feature present on modern SSDs, and there's always the chance that you erase the wrong drive in a fit of carelessness. And as much as I love hammering nails into drives, it's really not something I want to do in an office environment too often.
And this method doesn't allow for the old drive to be repurposed.
I've also been remiss in recent months and allowed a huge pile of storage drives requiring erasure to mount up to the point of embarrassment. I'm talking dozens of them, all staring at me.
Which is why the StarTech four-bay drive eraser has been a welcome addition to the PC Doc HQ.
Right off the bat, I feel the need to say that not everyone needs a hardware drive eraser. In fact, unless you go through a lot of drives, or you're swimming in old drives that you need to erase, you can live without one. But, if you need one, you need one.
The StarTech four-bay drive eraser is packed with the following features:
- Secure, standalone drive erasing for up to four 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA SSD/HDD drives
- Nine erase modes including: Quick and Secure Erase, Single Pass Overwrite and Multi-pass Overwrites -- meets DoD (5220.22-M) standards
- Support for Secure Erase and Enhanced Secure Erase for SSDs
- Easy operation with LCD display and push-button navigation
- Built-in nine-pin serial port enables you to print erase logs using a receipt printer
- Supports SATA I and II (up to 3 Gbps)
- Also supports 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch IDE hard drives, mSATA drives and SATA M.2 drives using a compatible StarTech.com adapter
- TAA compliant
- Plug-and-play installation
Out of the box, the four-bay unit is capable of dealing with 2.5-inch and 3.5inch SATA drives (both SSDs and HDDs), and the hard drive eraser also works with 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch IDE hard drives, mSATA drives and SATA M.2 drives using a compatible StarTech.com adapter:
- IDE hard drives: StarTech adapter SAT2IDEADP SATA to 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch IDE Hard Drive Adapter for HDD Docks
- mSATA drives: StarTech adapter SAT32MSAT257 mSATA SSD to 2.5-inch SATA Adapter Converter
- M.2 drives: StarTech adapter SAT32M225 M.2 NGFF SSD to 2.5-inch SATA Adapter Converter
The hard drive eraser is easy-to-use, thanks to its convenient menu navigation system, with push-button operation and a built-in LCD display that clearly identifies the erase modes and task status. You can also connect the eraser to a computer to quickly access the drive that's attached to port-1 on the eraser.
To ensure your records are complete for auditing, the hard drive eraser features a nine-pin serial port that can connect to a serial printer to provide on-demand erase logs.
One thing I'd like to remind you of is that erasing hard drives takes time. Hours. So, don't do what I did and set the eraser up on your desk with four drives attached, because you won't be able to sit at your desk for ages.
On the upside, erasing SSDs that support Secure Erase or Enhanced Secure Erase is fast, taking under a minute from connecting the drive to the job being done.
The StarTech four-bay drive eraser is not cheap -- it will set you back $814.99 -- but if you require that old drives are securely erased, and it's your job to decommission those drives, then this is the tool for you.
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