What not to do when getting rid of that old Hard Drive

A few weeks ago my Significant Others hard drive died.  When ever this happens one the first things I try is getting another drive that is the same model and swapping the controller cards.  EBay is a great place to look for these.

So that is what I did.  When the new drive (well used) arrived I swapped controllers and then proceeded to get data back. 

On Saturday I was wondering what was on the drive that I had just purchased.  Well after plugging it in I found a full install of Windows XP home.  Items included without looking for old deleted items:

  • Favorites

  • Cookies for many many sites

  • History (very interesting to see what people look at)

  • and a few random docs

After some digging (and a nice piece of software) I was able to find

  • Tax returns from 2002-2004

  • Student loan papers

  • Lots of other personal docs

  • resumes

  • cooking recipes

  • a doc labeled "Email accounts and passwords"

  • and then the rather large Porno collection popped up

While I am thankful that I was able to get this drive off eBay (to save our other one) I don’t think people should sell hard drives.  And if you do sell a hard drive (or get rid of it in any way) I recommend getting a DoD disk wiper and let it wipe for a few days before you pull it our of your box.  While a DoD wipe may not kill all possible data on the drive, it would have kept me from finding the data I found.