Many computer users believe that once data is deleted from a computer and the trash bin is emptied, the data disappears. But that is further from the truth. The truth is that you have not done away with the information. All you actually do when you delete such info is to destroy the path leading the actual information. Nevertheless, it is still possible to erase information completely from your HD. One can erase data from their computer hard drive in three different ways. You can erase the hard drive using a hard drive eraser, you can physically destroy the drive, or you can do what is known as degaussing.
Degaussing simply put is complete erasing of information on a drive. Degaussing is very popular considering the amount of sensitive information the needs to be permanently erased by various organizations. This method is unique compared to other methods. Unlike deleting and formatting, degaussing completely clears information by the use of a special technique. Discussed below are some important things to understand what degaussing is all about.
Uses Magnetic Fields
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Degaussing is pretty much the elimination or decrease of a magnetic field. This means it requires magnetic fields in order to erase information from magnetic storage devices such as discs and tapes. Magnetic storage devices have very fine coatings of iron oxide as well as chromium oxide that sit on the tape. During this degaussing process an intense magnetic field is generated. It is the intensity of this magnetic field that aids in permanent removal of the information stored on the iron oxide coating or the chromium oxide. The data on the disc is completely destroyed as a result of the change in the tape’s magnetic field. previously recorded data is either removed or randomized during degaussing. This explains why the data can never be recovered after the process.
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According the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that suggests any kind of harm can come from this type data destruction. This means the exposure to magnetic fields during the process is not to cause alarm.
How Fast It is
Degaussing might sound like a slow and complex process. However, contrary to what the name sounds like the process of erasing data is quick and simple.
Difference from Hard Drive Eraser
As already highlighted degaussing uses the help of a magnetic field to neutralize the magnetic charge in a drive. Conversely drive erasing is where data that is on a drive is overwritten so many times that it becomes impossible to access decipher or restore forensically. Unlike the name suggests, there is no type of erasing that goes on when using HD erasers.