What’s that FreeBSD/NetBSD/Mac/etc drive?


I feel like I’ve been playing a game show the last few days. I unearthed a box of old hard drives and SSDs, and have been spending time figuring out what they are so I can securely dispose of them.

From my FreeBSD tower, gpart(8) list will often report that it contains a GPT layout with a familiar type:

1. Name: ada6p1
	label: 4tb-wdblue-4e0052995
	type: freebsd-zfs

Sometimes I’m able to run zpool(8) import to get a list of pools the drive might have, or other times I need to run it through a geli(8) attach first to decrypt it. So far these all predate OpenZFS native encryption on FreeBSD.

When gpart(8) draws a blank that doesn’t show anything, I’ve fallen back on fdisk(8) which can report on older MBR partition layouts. Here I can see this older drive has a Windows FAT32 partition which I must have used to do some sneakernetting back in the day:

Information from DOS bootblock is:
The data for partition 1 is:
sysid 12 (0x0c),(DOS or Windows 95 with 32 bit FAT (LBA))

I’m fine with doing a gpart(8) destroy on drives that used encryption and be done with it, but for these other ones I’m fine running a few zero passes across with dd.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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