I've finished migrating data from several drives on to one newer disk. The older drives were a mix of old mechanical drives, thumb (flash) drives, and SSDs.

Now I will dispose of the worthless drives and sell the rest. In order to sell the drives, I should be completely sure that the data cannot be recovered (e.g. by a scammer, blackmailer, or pryer).

On each drive, I have deleted all the files.

What else needs to be done?

  • @SteffenUllrich thanks! It looks like old info, as the link in the top answer is to way back machine. I'll have a thorough read. TBH what I was hoping for is basically a case statement to the effect of: if flash drive do X, if SSD do Y, if spinning disk do Z, (more here). (and with links to the program/s). That way it is immediately actionable for practical use.
    – stevec
    Mar 13, 2021 at 16:10
  • @mentallurg super interesting, but again, not very actionable. (also, I am very interested in how to certainly delete/make unrecoverable, not just how to detect whether I have successfully done so).
    – stevec
    Mar 13, 2021 at 16:19
  • 1
    Just because the info is not in a format you prefer does not make it not a direct answer to your question. The question itself provides step-by-step guidance. Destroy thumb drives and SSDs. Use secure erase functions on HDDs
    – schroeder
    Mar 13, 2021 at 16:23
  • Just because the info is not in a format you prefer does not make it not a direct answer to your question - I agree. If there's a way to distinguish my question from the linked, please suggest. I'm after strictly actionable advice (i.e. what program to download for each type of drive, and what to do once downloaded). Not theoretical (although the theoretical is much more interesting, but it may not be as useful to solve the current problem)
    – stevec
    Mar 13, 2021 at 16:25
  • 1
    Then you want a simple solution to a complex problem. It is theoretically possible to recover data from an SSD. The practical response to that is to destroy the drive. If you want to know how to reliably make the data unrecoverable, then you need to get into the theory for why it's possible to recover the data. You can't have your cake and eat it too. The simple answer is to destroy the drive. The complex, theoretical answer requires ... theory.
    – schroeder
    Mar 13, 2021 at 16:58


Browse other questions tagged .