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FIle shredding....

pawhe955
Grafter
Posts: 106
Registered: 31-07-2007

FIle shredding....

I'm cleaning a hard drive ready for re-use, and having just bought/installed Acronis True Image Home 2009, I went to use the secure file shredder component that I’d seen it contains, just to *really* clean the disk....
However, it then occurred to me that file shredding is seriously exercising the disk, and that (as I understood it) a hard disk has a finite limit to the number of times it can be (or at least is expected to be, or in some cases guaranteed to be able to be) read from/written to….
So – does anyone have any idea how damaging to your hard disk’s life expectancy file shredding is?  If you’re only going to re-use the disk yourself, should you *not* file-shred – and only use such a tool when you finally want to securely dispose of the disk?
Or does it actually do the disk good to be exercised like that once in a while?
2 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: FIle shredding....

in effect it only has about 9 passes over the disk surface, not much in the total life of the disc
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
Thanks: 542
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: FIle shredding....

I don't think its the disk passes thats the issue I think its the reading and writing to and from the disk.
I use Eraser myself and its set to use Pseudorandom over writing  multiple times. Now the platters spin what... 7200 rpm on modern drives. The head will pass the same spot more than 9 times a second!
I personally wouldn't worry about it if its just the one shred. What I will advise against however is using a disk repeatedly for starting up and shutting down Virtual Machines. I've learnt from that mistake. Running 2 or 3 OS's on old drives at the same time doesn't do them a lot of good. I've had numerous drives go a bit ... weird after a few months of it. What I would suggest for VMs now is simply to suspend the machine and then resume it again when needed which is what I've been doing now for a few months and I'm glad to say the current disks they're on haven't suffered as quickly as the previous victims.
I know that has nothing to do with shredding but its also a big read/write operator. It took months of continual usage of VMs starting up and shutting down to do the disks over so one shred should be fine. There isn't really a way to tell when a disk will die but so far all 4 of the ones I've had go bad have started to show signs of being slower than normal to read and write. Listening to MP3s from them was the first indication that the drive couldn't transfer enough data. Forget the software tests - all mine said the drives were fine! Days later after my most recent went on a go slow it totally died despite software reports saying it was in good health. That particular drive now does absolutely nothing. The other 3 still have occassional use for backing up onto but they're rarely used as they can't handle the workload.
I suppose you could think of it like a car. Treat it with a bit iof respect and it will serve you for years. Thrash it around like a racing car and rev the hell out of the engine and its gonna let you down sometime soon.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!