Data Hygiene Thread

This is somewhat related to my earlier thread about being stupid.

I’m increasingly worried about my bad backup habits and data hygiene. I have tons of duped and reduped files scattered across complex (read: disorganized) file trees and multiple hard drives from dead machines, including some scavenged or given to me.

I got it into my head that I want to A) Organize my shit and B) Sell what turn out to be perfectly good HDD and finally C) Get rid of anything not worth something on eBay.

C) Is easiest. Anything too cheap and useless to hand onto (e.g. 8 Gb SD cards gets one of two treatments: A) Thermite (Because Fun.) or B). Is widlarized, which as far as I’m concerned is the single most effective method of HDD deletion available.

B) Presents a serious challenge. HDD’s are easy, they get a 7 pass Schneier method wipe (for which I use Eraser unless someone recommends otherwise), which is probably overkill.

The problem that is currently pressing on me has to do with solid state memory. I have a very nice Android phone that can’t root because it’s under warranty, which I definitely need to take advantage of. Problem: Internal non-replaceable battery (the problem), and the whole phone is held together with glue. There is a non-zero chance that the warranty department will elect to send me a new or refurb device, and then refurbish my device and hand it off to someone else. So I want to back it up and wipe it before I send it in because I don’t trust them to get this right.

I don’t know how to reliably wipe this space, and most apps call for root access. I’ve tried recovering old files, and there is tons of readable info just using an off-the-shelf app. What’s a method for deleting this stuff? It doesn’t have to be NSA proof, just script-kiddy proof, at least. Can I fill it to the brim with multiple copies of a video of me standing on my head until it’s full, and then delete it? Is that good enough?

Finally, A) is there a fast easy way to dedupe old files across folders with slightly different filenames? As in Kittens.docx and Copy_of_Kittens.docx are the same file, but you can’t tell that from filename. I’ll do it manually, if I have to, but good grief I don’t want to.

Advice? Comments? Questions? Have a similar issue?


Can you encrypt android phones then reformat them?


Also data hygene bit dirty.

sorry had to be said


Now there’s a thought… I could come up with a crazy insane long passphrase that defies even the best attempts at cracking the hash, or even a random one… the phone is getting wiped anyway so I don’t need to remember it. Is one “pass” sufficient for solid state? I’ve heard it is because it’s a more volatile technology and more just damages it.


Just found this might help.


Way over kill. We did one pass of random write on the server drives when I was doing my bit in the decom process and the drives were beyond recoverable. 7 passes was only for DoD stuff and then it got dropped through magnets and put in the shred bin.


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