Author Topic: Decomissioning 'external' disks  (Read 841 times)

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Decomissioning 'external' disks
« on: 20 March, 2021, 10:12:41 am »
I hope someone here has Teh Knowledge  ;D

I have a number of external hard disks in enclosures. I fear that trying to match power supplies to them, and interfaces will not be worth it.

If I dismantle them, will the disks inside have ordinary connectors, like SATA or IDE, I probably have a caddy for them...
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Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #1 on: 20 March, 2021, 10:20:45 am »
If they are rotating rust it will be standard drives inside; SATA or IDE will depend upon age.

Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #2 on: 20 March, 2021, 10:28:30 am »
Older spinning disks tended to be standard IDE/SATA disks with a USB convertor somewhere in the enclosure, but some of the later models were optimised and the disk controller didn't have SATA and went straight to USB.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #3 on: 20 March, 2021, 01:25:28 pm »
If they are rotating rust it will be standard drives inside; SATA or IDE will depend upon age.

Often newer ones are standard drives with non-standard firmware that, for example, talk USB on their SATA connector to minimise the amount of extra hardware needed for the enclosure.  You can't just plug the drive into a SATA controller in the usual way.

This is deeply annoying, and a strong argument for not buying external disks.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #4 on: 20 March, 2021, 01:55:34 pm »
Lots of interesting stuff here, thanks.

I've opened up three enclosures and they all have IDE drives. I haven't got as far as extracting the drives.

Kim, will the labels on the drives give an indication if they have non-standard firmware?


Also, I've got to find a missing power supply* for my Firewire - IDE dock  ;D

*The power supplies get put away. Much like USB cables.
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #5 on: 20 March, 2021, 02:46:48 pm »
actually...

any recommendations nations for a universal power supply?
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #6 on: 20 March, 2021, 04:33:23 pm »
Lots of interesting stuff here, thanks.

I've opened up three enclosures and they all have IDE drives. I haven't got as far as extracting the drives.

Kim, will the labels on the drives give an indication if they have non-standard firmware?

No idea, but if they're that old, you're probably okay.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #7 on: 20 March, 2021, 04:35:25 pm »
Lots of interesting stuff here, thanks.

I've opened up three enclosures and they all have IDE drives. I haven't got as far as extracting the drives.

Kim, will the labels on the drives give an indication if they have non-standard firmware?

No idea, but if they're that old, you're probably okay.

I've had a look at the labels and thy've got magic instructions on them for Jumpers and similar, so I'm going to assume they aren't locked down. Now I just need a power supply!  ;D
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #8 on: 20 March, 2021, 04:37:32 pm »
Jumpers.  Gosh.  It's been a while...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #9 on: 03 April, 2021, 11:40:58 am »
On the off chance this is useful.
Disks that are new enough, they will have a secure erase function, which is amongst the NIST approved way of doing things. I actually haven't found a disk without the feature yet and I've recently wiped a sizable number of drives for a laptop recycling project.

On a Linux machine you can use hdparm utility to securely erase a drive. I realise you won't have hdparm natively on macos, but a cursory internet search suggests there are a range of similar tools - some maybe point and click rather than three terminal commands.

There are three steps involved.
First, see what capabilities the disk has.

Code: [Select]
hdparm -I /dev/sdb
At the tail end of the output, is something that looks like this:
Code: [Select]
Security:
        Master password revision code = 65534
                supported
        not     enabled
        not     locked
                frozen
        not     expired: security count
                supported: enhanced erase
        506min for SECURITY ERASE UNIT. 506min for ENHANCED SECURITY ERASE UNIT.

In this example, the disk supports enhanced erase. The disk needs to be unfrozen to be able to run the security erase. Frozen means that is spun down, not an issue usually with a freshly plugged in disk.

Step two is to set a preqrequiste password.
Code: [Select]
hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass password /dev/sdb
Final step is erase the disk.
Code: [Select]
hdparm --user-master u --security-erase-enhanced password /dev/sdb
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #10 on: 03 April, 2021, 02:12:50 pm »
12 drives went to the tip yesterday.

Disk Utility has a secure erase function, I drew the line at two passes with zeroes and an 8mm drill through the whole thing, thought that should do it!
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Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Decomissioning 'external' disks
« Reply #11 on: 20 April, 2021, 05:06:31 am »
Awww the platters make quite nice coasters.
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