8 Replies Latest reply: May 17, 2012 11:10 AM by Jan Hedlund
onokai Level 1 (0 points)

Any tips on how to get rid of all my data on hard drive before the recyler gets it?

My system is 9.2 its an old g3 mac.

Mac OS 9.2.x, G3 tower
  • Niel Level 10 (293,435 points)

    Restart from another drive and use the Finder's Erase Disk command or Drive Setup to erase the internal drive.



  • Limnos Level 8 (46,035 points)

    Do you have any system discs for it?  Well, actually, with OS9 you could just burn a copy of the System Folder to a CD, then boot from the CD and use Drive Setup to erase the drive.


    From Drive Setup's help file:

    "Initializating with the “zero all data” option. A regular initialization erases all data, but under certain conditions the data can be retrieved. If, for security purposes, you wish to be sure that the data can never be retrieved, you can replace the data with a series of zeros so the data can’t be retrieved. “Zero all data” is available as an initialization option from the Functions menu."


    Though it is nice to recycle the drive too, you could also remove the drive and physically render it unreadable (open it up and smash the plates with a hammer).


    Message was edited by: Limnos

  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)

    Yes, by removing the hard drive. I don't believe OS 9 provides a way of securely erasing a hard drive, but if it does that's what you need to do: low-level formatting that writes zeroes or some other sequence that overwrites every block on the drive.

  • Gary - former developer Level 1 (95 points)

    Do as wel do at the university where I work:

    1) remove the disk from the computer

    2) locate a 10 pound sledge hammer

    3) locate a low concrete wall

    4) place the disk on the wall

    5) pound the disk with the hammer until it is suitable pulerized;

    6) send the disk and the computer to the recycler




  • Limnos Level 8 (46,035 points)

    I disagree with your choice of a solution.


    1) The answer does not mention removing the platters that contain the data from the drive, so I guess you'll just smash the whole unit. I don't know how recyclers operate in detail but making a mess of the drive will likely make it more difficult (impossible?) for the recycler to isolate the components that are hazardous or valuable.  I could give you a bag of food and you could pick out the canned items, but if I run over the bag with a car a couple of times you would likely just throw the whole lot in the trash.


    2) Removing a drive and taking out the platters would take you just as long as booting it up, erasing it with write zeros in Drive Setup while you do something else.


    3) Some people can actually make use of a non-pulverized old drive.  There are still people around who run G3s and look for compatible drives, especially if they are free.  I know our local waste dropoff place also has a pickup area where you can look for things you can use, including electronics.  The last couple of G3s I wanted gone I just posted on Craigslist and I had several takers (as recently as 6 months ago).

  • Jeff Level 6 (11,445 points)

    I agree with Limnos.  The "pulverize until destroyed" method may be effective, but it's a bit of a caveman approach.  If you're really concerned about sensitive data, you could simply remove and retain the hard drive.  If not, Norton Utilities 4.x-6.x and Norton SystemWorks 1.0 for pre-OS X Macs had a nice feature for defragmenting and optimizing the drive's data, wherein the data was shuffled about, according to a pre-selected configuration.  For secure deletion of sensitive data, the optional "wipe free space" had a user setting for a more advanced data rewrite scheme.  You could choose your own pattern of characters.


    "I know our local waste dropoff place also has a pickup area where you can look for things you can use, including electronics."


    Unfortunately, our local County computer recycling facility has signs posted that warn anyone who's tempted to take anything: "No Scavenging."  When I see a G4 on the pile, I wonder if it only needed a new PRAM battery, but was mistakenly diagnosed to be dead/beyond repair.

  • Jan Hedlund Level 6 (9,615 points)

    Two more methods for wiping an IDE/ATA hard disk drive of a G3 computer (if a startup/system disc is not available) may also be worth mentioning.


    The first could be to try an old 2.0.0 PowerPC version of a free utility called DBAN. A CD can be created from the downloaded iso file (on a CD-R, using another computer). Booting the G3 from a thus made CD should give access to a wiping program with various options.


    The second could be to remove the hard drive, and then connect it to another computer via a USB-to-IDE/ATA adapter (or place it directly in another computer). The other machine can be an appropriate Mac, or even a PC. Use a suitable utility there.



  • Jan Hedlund Level 6 (9,615 points)



    The README on the 2.0.0 DBAN CD for PowerPC says that it is for "New World" computers only. This means that the CD would be intended for (for example) a Blue and White G3, but not for a beige G3 Mini Tower.