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Completely erase a disk before formatting in 10.2.3 System
I noticed in Apple's press release for the 10.2.3 update that it "Provides a zero all data feature in Disk Utility, for supported hard disks."

To use it, launch Disk Utility, and you will find the Erase tab has a new Options button. Logically, you must have a non-system disk connected to use it, as it was greyed out on my Powerbook until I connected an external firewire drive and selected it. When you click on it, a pop-up box warns you that this will significantly increase the disk initialization time, and there is just a single check box "Zero all data" with a small explanation "Writes zeros to all sectors of disk. The disk cannot be recovered once it starts."

I didn't actually try it yet; note this doesn't meet more stringent DoD-mil spec standards which require things like multiple passes and writing different patterns, but it sure is better than nothing for the (cheap) security conscious (paranoid?).

Yes, there are numerous other more sophisticated options, e.g. BITcom's Xclean, BCWipe for UNIX (anyone compiled on OS X yet?), PGP8 (?) etc., but this one is simple and built-in.
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This technique is not a privacy tool
Authored by: klktrk on Dec 26, '02 11:51:14AM

The option to "zero all data" while formatting is not designed as a privacy tool; it is intended simply to ensure that a platter is free from all previous data images before formatting. Contrary to popular belief, reformatting a drive does not erase all data, it simply re-writes all the meta-data (directories, etc.), which pretty effectively eliminates all casual access to what was on that disk before.

If you want a privacy tool, use a privacy tool. If you have UNIX fileutils installed, for example, you have access to the "shred" command, which will overwrite a folder, or volume as many times as you want. (And, yes, there are many other similar tools, among them PGP or GPG.)

Much simpler, quicker, and more effective to use the right tool for the job. Save the "zero all data" feature (welcome as it is), for when you're actually reformatting a troublesome disk.



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