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Viterbi IT Degausser

The Viterbi School of Engineering has purchased a Degausser available for use to staff and faculty of the School.


What is it?

Securely wipes all data from magnetic storage media. Starting in June 2007, only degaussing or physical destruction is an acceptable form of data sanitization method under U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 5220.22-M Clearing Standard.  You should want to degauss magnetic storage media before transferring them over USC Environmental Health & Safety for proper disposal.

I am a staff member or faculty of Viterbi School of Engineering.  How do I get access to the Degausser?

You have the option to drop off the magnetic media such as computer tapes and hard drives that you want to e-waste to Viterbi IT.  Viterbi IT will degauss the magnetic media to wipe out data and transfer the wiped hard drive to USC Environmental Health and Safety for proper disposal.  If requested, Viterbi IT will send you an email to acknowledge the the number of hard drives received and to confirm that the hard drives have been degaussed.

You may also make a special appointment to use the Degausser.  Please give 1 business day advance notice.  Viterbi IT may not be able to accommodate requests with less than 1 business day.  Appointments could be made by submitting a request at http://viterbi.usc.edu/servicedesk, or emailing engrhelp@usc.edu.

Where and when could I drop off the magnetic media?

Magnetic media may be dropped off with the Viterbi Service Desk in DRB 205, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm (except for University holidays).

What type of media will it accept?

Any type of magnetic media such as hard drives, magnetic tapes or even floppy disks.

What is the maximum media size?

6.75” x 4.5” x 1.8”

How long does it take to degauss the magnetic media?

Less than 10 milliseconds.

Will I be able to re-use the magnetic media?

Hard disk drives will not be reusable.

Certain types of magnetic tape such as DLT media may be reusable.

If you choose to use the degausser to wipe out any data on your magnetic media, don’t count on it being reusable.

If I wanted to get rid of the degaussed magnetic storage media myself, what do I do?

Please arrange with USC Environmental Health and Safety for proper disposal.

I have a hard disk drive that could not be read by my computer.  Will the Degausser wipe out what’s there?

Yes.  In fact degaussing is the only practical method to clear a broken hard disk drive of data remanence.

I use software such as Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) to securely erase my hard disk drive.  Why should I use the Degausser?

Software like DBAN may take 12+ hours to securely erase a 160GB hard drive.  The higher the capacity of the hard disk drive, the longer the secure erase process will take. With the Degausser, it takes less than 10 milliseconds to erase the hard drive regardless of capacity.


Last Updated: 5/13/2014