I've had some hard drives lying around because I don't have a drill to put them to death before taking them to the recycle center. Finally I've gotten around to developing a system for wiping them clean and selling them.
I use Sabrent 3.0 to SATA Hard Drive Adapter to plug them into my desktop computer so I can do my software magic on them. This model is backward compatible to USB 20.0. It does not support IDE, but that's fine with me as I don't plan on selling any IDES anyway. There is another model that supports IDE.
This one supports SATA and the larger SSD. For the smaller SSD, I bought a little device that connects to the Sabrent that fits a smaller SSD which I fished out of my husband's old Lenovo X300. All told, I spent around $20, and expect to make that back on the first sale of a hard drive.
Here are the steps I devised for safe, secure, preparation of a hard drive to sell
- Open the start menu in Windows and look for "create and format hard drive partitions." You will see the "disk management" window open.
- Set up the Sabrent so that it's got its usb end plugged into your computer, the power adapter is plugged into the wall, and the disk attachment is snugly fit to the hard drive that you are about to format. You should see a blue light on the device. You should see Windows install a device driver the first time you use the Sabrent.
- In the disk management window you should see your hard drive come up. It may have more than one volume on it. A volume is another name for a partition.
- Being very careful that you don't accidentally work with your own system drive (that would be a disaster) carefully delete each volume until there are none remaining.
- Then do an NTFS format on the whole drive. This can be done in the disk management window, or alternatively, it can be done in the more usual way by going into computer-->right click on the drive you want-->click on format. Either way, don't do the quick format. Do the long and tedious format. Recently I formatted a 3 terabyte drive, and it took two days.
- After the format has completed, use your favorite free utility to wipe the drive. Again, make sure you're not wiping yoru system drive. I have only found a few utilities that will wipe a drive other than the system drive. The one I use is Eraser. I just open computer-->right click on the drive--select "eraser" from the menu.
- There's some controversy out there about "how many wipes" you really need. Gutman has been called into question as the gold standard, so I'm not going to give you any advice on which kind of wipe to use. Erase offers plenty of options.
- run this whole production from a spare computer (one that's fast)
- close all unnecessary applications and background processes
- using task manager, change the priority of this task to realtime
- use a computer with usb 3.0