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I have a few hard drives, laptop and desktop IDE, which I would like to Secure Erase. I'm aware that other methods exist for removing the data, but this is the safest and most efficient, and it's the one I want to use.

Other than hooking them up to an old desktop (I only have a laptop) how can I manage this?

In man hdparm it says

hdparm provides a command line interface to various kernel interfaces supported by the Linux SATA/PATA/SAS "libata" subsystem and the older IDE driver subsystem. Many newer (2008 and later) USB drive enclosures now also support "SAT" (SCSI-ATA Command Translation) and therefore may also work with hdparm.

However, I bought one which is support to support SAT, and reflected on the word 'may'. This was ii337 Gembird AUSI01.1

Edit: Initially I intended to destroy the drives after erasing them. I didn't realise that there might actually be people who would want old drives as they're quite ubiquitous. Of course that's how things become rare; people assume nobody wants them. I'll give some consideration to selling them or donating them to someone who wants them.

Of course, this makes Secure Erase all the more necessary. Things like writing zeroes to the whole drive will be effective, but will reduce the life of the drive, and take much longer.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because Not RC related as it is about modern OS and modern Computers. Also PATA are still actual products. Please try main Stackexchange.com – Raffzahn Feb 13 '18 at 12:18
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    @Raffzahn: stackexchange.com isn't a Q&A site, it is the company home page. I'm not sure which SE site would be better than this one. Also: retrocomputing.meta.stackexchange.com/q/551/276 – Chenmunka Feb 13 '18 at 12:26
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    If you're going to physically destroy them and do a decent job of it, there's no need to wipe them. – Blrfl Feb 13 '18 at 15:53
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    @:CloseVoters: Our current meta consensus is that these questions are on-topic. This highlights a significant lack of meta usage. Please post on the meta question explaining why you consider this question off-topic. (cc: @Raffzahn) – wizzwizz4 Feb 14 '18 at 10:19
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    Yes, and you don't have a clear guide to what's on topic here. If that's established and this falls foul, I'll delete it. I asked on meta whether this question was permissible, and the only concern was the shopping recommendation element, which I removed. I don't see what more I could have done to try and respect the rules of this stack. – Ne Mo Feb 14 '18 at 15:59
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Buy a PCI or PCIe PATA adapter card. They're really cheap, and can be incredibly useful in these days of motherboards that lack integrated PATA adapters. As far as I know, they should be able to run all commands supported by the drives.

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  • Very good suggestion! I'll give it a go sometime and report back – Ne Mo Feb 14 '18 at 13:23
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https://www.amazon.ca/Mosuch-Adapter-Converter-Optical-External/dp/B002OV1VJW

You need a device such as this - which has a USB to PATA (and SATA) interface. An external power supply (usually supplied) can be used to power the drive, and is necessary for 3.5" drives (although still recommended for 2.5").

This will let you connect your drive up to any machine with a USB port, although the device will be slower with USB 1.1 ports.

I believe USB 3.0 versions are around as well, if you want faster access, particularly to SATA drives.

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    Thanks. I already have a couple of those. Many of them can't execute the ASE command, and I need one that's confirmed to work with it – Ne Mo Feb 13 '18 at 17:37
  • @NeMo wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Securely_wipe_disk It looks like this can be done via command line tools. Only simple write access is required. – Jim MacKenzie Feb 13 '18 at 18:22
  • @JimMacKenzie I think you should add information from that link into your answer; that would make it more useful. – wizzwizz4 Feb 14 '18 at 10:15
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You're overthinking the problem. Just drill a few holes through the drive!

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    If somebody wants to Secure Erase, it's often because they want to sell the disk on. PATA hard drives are hard to come by nowadays, and we generally don't recommend destroying equipment on this site. -1. – wizzwizz4 Feb 13 '18 at 18:28
  • I just saw that the OP does intend to destroy the drives. However, this is not a useful answer because it does not answer the question. – wizzwizz4 Feb 13 '18 at 18:32
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    @traal Not securely erasing; "Secure Erase" is a feature of PATA (and iirc SATA) drive controllers. – wizzwizz4 Feb 13 '18 at 19:15
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    @wizzwizz4 That's a good point. – snips-n-snails Feb 13 '18 at 19:25
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    @Raffzahn Well... The intention, at least how I read it, is to activate the Secure Erase function of the drive. Regardless of whether the drive is then going to be destroyed by the OP, other people looking to activate the Secure Erase function will not find this answer useful. And as the OP no longer intends to necessarily destroy the drives, that point is now moot (though as the question was edited after this answer was posted that's sort of a grey area). – wizzwizz4 Feb 14 '18 at 22:09

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