Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Drive Erazer

Historically I've always done disk wiping through DBAN. It's free, and easy to use. I have had a system capable of attaching plenty of drives and drive types for just this purpose.

Recently though, our tech shop purchased a bunch of Wiebetech Drive Erazers because the thought was it's easier and sometimes faster to just plug a drive in and flip a switch. Well, these devices fit that niche perfectly. They ended up tossing one at me and asked me to verify their functionality.

They ordered the "Pro" model which can do ATA-6 secure wiping as well as writing a simple zero pattern to the disk. So I first wanted to test the basic wiping functionality.

I hooked up a 13GB IDE drive and flipped the switch.

About 10 minutes and an 'xxd' check later and I had a disk full of zeroes that was verified. Not bad.

Next up an 80GB IDE drive. No problems here either. Approximately 40 minutes later I had a zeroed disk.

As I write this I'm about 50 minutes in to a 'secure wipe' of a 250GB SATA disk. This device also detects and removes HPA and DCO on the device, which I really like. I expect it to take a reasonable amount of time, around two hours or so. Weibetech states approximately 35MB/s wipe speed which is respectable for the pricetag and functionality. So far this little device is as good as advertised.

Procedurally I like devices like this, because a tech can easily attach a drive, flip the switch and go do something else while the device is working. As much as I like DBAN for my own use, I think these little drive erazers are very handy to have around, and they're extremely portable (fit in my palm) which only adds to the usability.

Some dislikes:
Counting blinks to determine error or time to completion. It's a little like morse code but for the price tag it's not a showstopper.

The jumper location in the device is all but unreachable unless you have fingers the size of paper clips. A precision set of needle nose pliers takes care of this though.

The IDE ribbon should be a little bit longer. At current length, you need to bend it too far to keep the hard drive flat.

I like the drive erazer. For the $149 price tag on the Pro model I'd recommend it to people who don't want a computer dedicated to wiping disks, but a few more tests need to be completed before I "approve" it. I have a few small quibbles about design but none are major.

If you have thoughts about these devices or can recommend similar and similarly priced devices I'm all ears.

Addendum The 250GB disk finished wiping in one hour and twenty-two minutes.


CypherBit said...

I definitely need something in addition to DBAN for cases where the drive is failing/has failed and I'm not able to get DBAN to do its thing.