By Jessie / Last update March 17, 2022

What is the Gutmann Wipe Method?

The Gutmann method is an algorithm for securely erasing the contents of computer hard disk drives. It was designed by Peter Gutmann and Colin Plumb in 1996. It achieves a complete erase of the disk contents by repeatedly writing 35 segments in the sectors to be erased.

It will use a random character, not just the zeroes used in other techniques, for the first 4 and last 4 passes. A complex overwrite pattern is used from the 5th to the 31st pass. In total, it will write 35 times. This is the most thorough erasing method, but it also takes a long time due to the multiple erasing times.

Gutmann Wipe Disk

Why Do We Need Gutmann Wipe Method?

If you need to replace your storage device with a new one, you may choose to delete the files on the old disk and then just throw away it. However, this is very dangerous because the actual data still remain on the drive and it can be easily recovered with some data recovery tools.

You need to erase the disk so that the data is not compromised and not easily recoverable. You can choose to wipe the disk once, wipe it three times, wipe it seven times and wipe it thirty-five times. The more times you erase, the harder your data can be recovered.

Therefore, when you want to completely wipe your disk, I recommend you to use the safest and most thorough erasing method - Peter Gutmann wipe method. It can effectively help you protect your data from being leaked, especially sensitive data.

Difference between Gutmann and Other Wipe Method

We will introduce 7 common erasing methods in the world, and you can find the difference between the Gutmann wipe method and other methods.

  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD 5220.22-M): It is one of the most enhanced, secure, and common erasure standard which is implemented in 3 passes and 7 passes with varying verification frequencies.
  • US Army AR 380-19: This method is defined and published by the US Army in the Army Regulation 380-19. It destroys the data in 3 passes.
  • US Air Force AFSSI-5020: This method uses zeros, ones, and pseudo-random values but in a different order and number of passes.
  • Canadian RCMP TSSIT OPS-II: It uses 6 passes of complementary repeated values and ends by overwriting a pseudo-random character with verification in 7th pass.
  • British HMG IS5: It uses 2 passes or 3 passes where it writes combination of zero, one, and random data with verification.
  • Peter Gutmann: The most secure wipe method. It works by overwriting some pseudo-random values 35 times. The Gutmann wipe uses random values for the first and last 4 passes, and then complex pattern from pass 5 to pass 31.

The Safe and Reliable Gutmann Wipe Software 

When you want to erase a disk with the Gutmann disk wipe method, you need to choose a safe and reliable Gutmann method software to help you. For example, AOMEI Backupper Professional is a good choice.

It can meet your various needs in erasing disks. You can use it not only to erase disks easily but also to erase partitions and unallocated space. In terms of disk wiping function, it supports the Gutmann wipe method and it is easy to operate. Besides, it also provides three other erasing methods. They are Fill sectors with Zero, Fill sectors with random data, DoD 52220.22-M. 

The last two disk wiping methods are more through, so many people usually compare DoD 5220 22 M vs Gutmann, DoD and want to know which is better. The previous method allows you to set your wiping times, ranging from 3 to 7, while Gutmann is more thorough in disk wipe, it can erase the disk 35 passes.

How to Use Gutmann Wipe Method to Erase the Disk Easily

Now, you can follow the steps below to erase your disk with the reliable wipe tool. By the way, if you have significant files or data, you need to backup them in advance, because all the data will be erased and can’t be restored after the wiping process.

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Professional, install, and open it. Then click Tools > Disk Wipe.

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Tools Disk Wipe

Step 2. Choose Wipe disk and click Next.

Choose Wipe Disk

Step 3. Choose the disk you want to wipe and click Next.

Wipe Data Select Disk

Step 4. Choose the Gutmann wiping method and click Start.

Wipe Method

Notes:

  • Fill sectors with random data: This method overwrites the data on the disk with a random number. 
  • DoD 52220.22-M: It allows you to set the wiping times from 3 to 7 and it can wipe disk more thorough than Fill sectors with random data.

FAQs about Gutmann Wipe

1. How long does a Gutmann wipe take?

It needs to be estimated according to your drive size, for example, a 1TB drive should take around 10 hours to erase over USB 2.0. If you happened to do a Gutmann wipe, then that would take 350 hours, i.e. about 2 weeks.

2. Is Gutmann recoverable?

No. Once the disk space is overwritten using Gutmann wipe, there is no known way to use software to recover it. It cannot be done with software alone since the storage device only returns its current contents via its normal interface.

3. What is a 35 pass erase?

A 35 pass erase also known as Gutmann method. It is an algorithm for securely erasing the contents of computer hard drives, such as files. Devised by Peter Gutmann and Colin Plumb, it does so by writing a series of 35 patterns over the region to be erased.

Summary

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a safe and reliable Gutmann wipe tool. It helps you easily wipe your disk with Gutmann wipe method to prevent data leakage. It also supports many different wiping methods mentioned above. If you are a Windows server user, AOMEI Backupper Server is more suitable for you.

Besides, it is also a great cloning software. You can use it to clone HDD to SSD, clone dynamic disks, clone larger HDD to smaller SSD, etc. You can download this software to explore more useful features.