Best way to wipe a disk clean in Linux

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My co-worker asked me to wipe a disk clean of everything (that includes data and partitions). We're using Linux. What's the best way to do this? I should ask actually for the fastest. Thanks so much

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  • TheRealRaven
    There is no "best" way without a definition/description of what "best" means to you or your co-worker. In general, though, the best way hasn't changed in more than a decade; it's built into essentially every ATA HDD manufactured by all vendors since 2001.

    The Center for Memory and Recording Research (CMRR) released a utility shortly after that to help with invoking the builtin functions to erase drives quickly and securely -- Secure Erase.

    I'm not aware of any utility that that will work faster. There is a technical/theoretical possibility that a different utility could be more "secure" in the sense that there might be advanced data recovery labs that could recover some data even after the builtin erase runs; but I haven't seen evidence that it's actually been accomplished with HDDs from this century, and such labs are generally limited to larger nation-states and to manufacturers themselves.

    If data needs to be secured from labs at those levels, you're probably already in trouble. Strong physical destruction is the only real choice.
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  • Subhendu Sen
    Your question is not clear here. Are you going to do just disk cleaning like delete files/folders/partitions and wanted to keep other drive letters there or going to install new OS and wanted to delete all partitions of that system? Whatever you do please take necessary backups of all personal files/folders first then go for the job. In general a normal format is a better way to wipe everything. While you install a OS this OS offers for format the system first, however there are another options are also available.
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  • Subhendu Sen

    Moreover you can use a command like, shred, this command can wipe a disk very securely. For example if you pass this command like,

    shred -n 4 -vz /dev/sda

    while -n 4 for four times overwriting, -v for shows progress and -z for finalize the disk with zeros to hide shredding. But be careful, please take all necessary backups before doing anything.  

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  • Subhendu Sen
    Also there is no best way, what method you feel comfortable/can understandable, this is your best way to do the job. Here is a good article with details that can help you: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Securely_wipe_disk
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