Sunday, March 4, 2012

Formatting Memory Card Securely/Safely/Permanently

Hi folks,
As you know (from the last post), that I had my cam for sale on eBay, I had to club a memory card in the package. For sending the cam and accessories, I did everything perfectly (step by step), but missed one *VERY IMPORTANT* thing. That is to securely format the memory card. By default when we format a memory card, or even hard drives, the files/photos are not actually erased, they just don't show up to us anymore but they are still on the card/drive. Which means erased/formatted files/photos can be recovered using any of the commonly (and freely) available recovery software. So if you don't want your pictures to be accessed by anyone after you erase(after all that's the point behind erasing something:P ) then you gotta go one step further than a plain format and perform a secure wipe (Note: The term 'secure wipe' is commonly used for Blackberry smart-phones where the owner/admin can permanently erase all data on a Blackberry device wirelessly if the device is stolen or lost. This feature is still available, and that's one of the reasons I love Blackberry devices!). So when I felt the need of a secure wipe, I realised I use a Mac now and not a PC. So looking for software could be a bit tricky. I did a bit of Google (thanks Sergie & Larry and your crew!) and got to know Mac OSX has such an option built in. Cool!! I made use of that feature to format my card. Here are the steps for you to do it on your Mac:

1. Click on Launchpad
2. Select Utilities
3. Click on Disk Utilities
5. Select the memory card (by checking the name. E.g. NIKD3000 in my case) on the left hand side of the window
6. Right hand side, on top, below the title bar , there will be 4 options: First Aid, Erase, RAID, Restore. Select 'Erase'.
7. In the Security options, select the level of security you want.
NOTE: Most secure erase takes most time.
8. Click to erase

For me a 4gig Sandisk Class 2 card took roughly 1.5 hrs to erase in the most secure mode.

Once the formatting is complete, the card was ready to be packed along with the cam. Hope this post helps for someone in similar needs as I was in.

Cheers,
Sid

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