How to wipe hard drives

5020 pts.
Tags:
Hard drives
iSeries 600
iseries v5r4
V5R3
I have an iSeries 600 (I think...it's in storage right now, so I'm not sure the model). I would like to consider selling it for parts on my own, or to a company that handles that. It is not entitled so I assume that I can't just sell it to a company to use. (My company gave it to me after we did a migration from it to our new iSeries.) How do I wipe the drives so that there is no left over data from the company available on the drives? I do not have any installation media for V5R4, which is what it was updated to for the migration, nor do I have V5R3 which is what it ran in production. It will not boot up and gives an error which, as I was told by a technician, means that since the system was used in a giga migration it moves some system stuff off of the box, or something to that effect. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

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On PC drives the typical process is to delete all files, write random data to the drive and then encrypt the drive. This will make any old data unrecoverable. I’m not sure if the AS/400 has this capability but the same process should work on any platform.
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Can this hard drive be connected to a IDE or SATA interface? If so you, could connect it to a windows PC, format the drive, then use a program like this one or this one to wipe the disk truly clean.

For drives that I’m just wanting to be rid of, I drill a few 1/2 holes through them with a hardened bit in a drill press, helps release some frustration as well!
Good Luck!
-Flame
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A decent size electromagnet should do the trick. Turn on the magnet, move all the hard drives next to it. Poof, no more data. Make sure that your phone, PDA, and laptop are all far away when doing this.

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  • Koohiisan
    Regarding the electromagnet idea: will that cause any potential harm to the drives? I've seen 'bulk tape erasers' before...I'm assuming that is the same kind of critter. I want to still have functional drives when done, hence my concern if that is too powerful and might mess something up. I didn't know if the '400 had some built in way to format the drives...but not having the install media I suppose that would be awash. Thanks all!
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  • Gilly400
    Hi, You should still be able to get the machine to start DST (Dedicated Service Tools). This should give you an option to initialise the disks. Starting DST is different per model - you'll need to find your service manual or see if there's a pdf version on the web. I wouldn't suggest trying to wipe them with an electromagnet and I don't believe the interface is compatible with anything other than another iSeries / AS400. The actual drives inside the mounting sledges appear to have a sort of SCSI interface, but then you'd need to disassemble the drive casing to get to it. Bearing in mind the way the AS400 stores data (single level storage), for someone to be able to access your existing data, I think they'd probably need to have all your disks in exactly the same configuration. Regards, Martin Gilbert.
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  • WoodEngineer
    When we decomissioned an old machine a few years ago, we removed all the disk drives before releasing the machine. I took the drives home and smashed them a few times with a sledge hammer. Very effective and quick. If you enjoy target shooting, you could have even more fun.
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  • Koohiisan
    Between drill presses, guns, and sledgehammers, it would appear that a hard drive's life is a fragile thing! I believe these drives are 2 GB each, and while not all that impressive, I would prefer the option of being able to pass these drives on to the buyer in a functional state--sans data. Thanks for the ideas though! Here at work, when a PC hard drive fails we rip it apart and put the platters and magnets together to make mirrors that can be attached to the metal hutches above our desks. I have some with the spindle still attached as well...makes for a nice techie conversation piece! Martin, thanks for the non-destructive info. :) I'll see if I can find that manual!
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  • Lovemyi
    If you perfrom an IPL of the machine while it is in Manual mode, it will come up in LIC (Licensed Internal Code) with an menu to go to DST (Dedicated Service Tools), or start the operating sysetm. Go into DST which at V5R3 will require a vaid DST user ID and password. This is not the same ID and password as the normal operating system ID and password and the password is 128 characters long and is case sensative. When you get into DST work with the disk units and there you will be able to initalize the disk drives. This process will take a little while and wipe the drives. The faster way to do this is just mix up the tape drives in any order especially removing the first drive and putting it in the middle somewhere because the iSeries data is scatter loaded across all drives so mixing up the drives with make the entire system unreadable. Even if they reload the LIC, they still cannot see the data.
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  • Koohiisan
    Ooh, thanks for the tip, Lovemyi. I didn't know I'd need a password. I suppose our standard 'letmein' is worth a try! ;) If not, I guess I'll have to swap drives. Thanks everybody!!
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  • Denny Cherry
    Those big tape erasers are basically just big magnets. Using a magnet to erase the drive won't to any harm to the unit. If you put the magnet on the edge of the drive you may hear the head move when you turn on the magnet for the first time, but that's it. If you change the order of the drives you should be fine. The more drives you have the lower the chance that the buyer will put them in the correct order. Especially if you label them 0-n but not in the correct order.
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  • Koohiisan
    LOL...I never thought about labeling them in a random order too! That's an awesome idea! :D Thanks!
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  • Sloopy
    See here for offical ways to erase your data: http://www.code400.com/forum/showthread.php?t=595 It would not be a good idea to apply an electromagnet. Remember, a bulk tape eraser scrambles the data on tapes - no moving parts, just coated plastic. But a disk drive is full of moving parts, and especially the head assembly, which contains a coil, and therefore will experience an EMF as a large magnetic field is applied. Oh, and the motor has a coil. And the actuator. So the likelihood of damaging the unit is extremely large. Perhaps someone who has actually done this could contribute and tell us whether their disk unit worked properly afterwards? Sloopy
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  • Wipe
    you can delete your files by over writing on which space where your deleted files data is safe because data is always safe in system area but you can over write this space by using wipe software its permanent delete your files from your computer you can download from here http://www.recuperation-dedonnees.fr/logiciel-securite-donnees-informatiques.html it maintain your privacy and your deleted files will never ever recoverable.
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  • TomLiotta
    It will not boot up... If it won't boot, all you need to do is swap a couple drive positions. Ideally, the first drive position would be swapped with another since that will be a load-source drive; but it almost certainly doesn't matter. First, it's unlikely that anyone will ever get them in the correct position. Second, even if they do, it won't boot up in it's condition. Because it won't boot, a LIC and/or OS reload is going to be required. When that happens with drives out of order, there will be no way to determine the correct order. And due to the scatter-loading method that the LIC used to write objects to disk, the new LIC/OS will demand that the drives be initialized when they are brought back in use. The scatter-loading also means that the drives can't even be put in use on another AS/400 in a way that preserves the data. The other system will insist upon initializing the drives. Further, the drives can't be used on any other kind of system without a low-level reformatting. AS/400 drives are formatted with 528-sectors. Other platforms use 512-byte sectors. In general, unless it's a system with, say, only four or fewer drives, the problems that follow from having drives physically out of order are beyond anyone but highly trained IBM personnel. With only four drives, someone might randomly try moving drives around and get an indication somehow that they're in the correct order. But what good will that do them? Almost no one would ever think that re-ordering will make a difference on used drives (since it almost certainly won't make a difference). And random drive-swapping to see if it makes a difference is time consuming. And after time is spent, it still doesn't boot. Tom
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