Prep extra hard drives to sell using Windows

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

  1. Open the start menu in Windows and look for "create and format hard drive partitions." You will see the "disk management" window open.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

Tips to Speed things up
  • 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

B&H Photo has feet of clay

B&H Photo has an excellent reputation for customer service, but no company is perfect, and I saw that today, when I called to arrange an exchange.

I told the B&H rep that I've been on the phone three times with Buffalo and can't get the device to work. The rep told me I couldn't return the item because I was missing one piece of paper from the manufacturer.
He argued with me when I asked for a manager. I insisted.

Then he put me on hold, came back and explained he was "making an exception." I then informed him that the piece of paper is available as a pdf (I looked it up while on hold) and he interrupted to explain his policy, which had nothing to do with my giving him good information.
I asked for cross shipment, but he told me it has to be a return and a new purchase. When we started arranging the return, only then did he catch onto the fact that the item was defective. He intimated that he did not realize that when he told me I could not return my itme without one particular piece of paper.
When he asked if there's anything else he could do for me, I told him I was not happy with the service I received today.
He acted like he wanted to know why "so he could improve," but every time I tried to explain it to him, he argued with me.
After I got off the phone with him, I called the company back to make sure he had done everything right. The second guy told me that once the defective device arrives, I will get my new one.
I told him that's not what we arranged, and he proceeded to explain to me the difference between a return and an exchange, and that I was doing a return. Well...right. So why did he say what he said? He told me taht I am indeed correct, that the new one will ship today.
The issues here:
1. You don't refuse to take back a return because one piece of paper is missing. 
2. The piece of paper in question is a pdf that's on the web.
3. You don't tell your customer "let's listen to the recording together" especially when you're wrong.
4. You don't say "I'm making an exception" when it's something as minor as a single piece of paper. That makes customers feel insecure about the service.
5. You don't tell a customer who just arranged a return and a new order that you'll send their order after you receive their return.
6. You don't argue when a customer is giving you constructive feedback.
7. You recognize that this is your job; but for your customer, they're geting precious time wasted. Hanging on the phone with you is not their job. Rather, it's cutting into their work time.
By the way, that one piece of paper was an advertisement for a related product, but not necessary for the functioning of the device.

Buffalo Linkstation Rep has deaf ears

If you have occasion to call support for Buffalo Linkstation, be aware there is one rep who doesn't listen to his customers. He seemed constitutionally incapable of hearing his customer's questions. He was also unable to help me brainstorm. He seemed only able to spew monologues, some of which were irrelevant to my need, thus wasting my time.

His deaf ear was so bad that he couldn't hear my request to escalate to his manager. He said that if I didn't let him talk, he'd get his manager, and I agreed that I did want his manager. He continued talking, and I kept trying to ask for his manager. Then he hung up.

I have never had such a bad customer experience in my life, and I hope he gets fired as a result of this blog entry, or better yet, because the call was recorded. He's bad for the company.

When I called back, I got Josh, and he was fine. The company needs to listen to both calls. Back to back, the two calls might make a great training tape, as the contrast is so stark that it could seem staged. But it's not!

I must say, though, that Josh, who was also my original contact yesterday, should have told me that it could take more than a day for the software to run its course. This other annoying guy informed me "oh it can take several days" to do the vigorous erase that the Buffalo Linkstation was doing.

Had I known that, I'd have immediately returned the item rather than wait what Josh thought would be only a day. Now I'm delayed even further in getting my backup set up. I have to wait for another one to arrive in the mail, which I arranged through B&H Photo.

Oh and I'm none too happy about the fact that the original one died last week, only a few months out of warranty.  I got the sense that this is unusual, but dang.

Here's a tip: Don't issue an "erase" from the Buffalo Linkstation IP Panel. It can take days.