Good question and a lot of factors come into play. For me, I used a SATA to USB adapter. It supports USB 3.0, but since my computer only has USB 2.0 ports I was stuck with the slower USB 2.0 transfer speeds. Whether a USB 3.0 ports would make any difference in this situation or not, I couldn’t tell you.
The entire process of zero filling the drive took a whopping 11 hours to complete. That is with an older computer as well. I am not sure if a speedier computer would have helped in this situation or not.
11 hours is a long time if you ask me. Sure you can still use your computer to do other things, but man that is excessive to say the least.
I am glad it wasn’t a 2 TB / 2000 GB drive because that would have taken nearly 22 hours to complete. Yikes!
The pros tell you that you should zero fill your hard drive 5-7 times to be sure your data is not recoverable by any software tools, but screw that I am not wasting 55-77 hours to zero fill my drive. That is just plain nuts. Maybe if I had another computer that I could leave running just for that purpose alone, but otherwise no way, not going to happen.
So if you are wondering how long it takes to zero fill a hard drive now you know. Of course there are other factors involved, such as the USB port speeds, the drive speed, if it can be plugged in internally or not, etc.
At any rate it is going to take a while, and that is taking a 1 TB / 1000 GB drive into consideration. There are a lot bigger drives that are becoming the norm now.
By the way, the program I used was Disk Genius. If you use it be aware that you can totally mess up your hard drive or external drive if you don’t know what you are doing. It’s not something you should be using if you don’t know what it does.
It comes in a free and various paid versions. The free version does more than what I need to do, and it certainly allows you to zero fill a hard drive.
Give it a try if you are brave enough, and know what you are doing.
I did some searching for time required to zero fill. Search for yourself and you get various times.
What I quoted is based on my real experience. Not fictitious times or guesses.
AMD dual core 2.7 GHz
4 GBs ram
USB 2.0 ports
SATA to USB cable
External WD Blue 2.5 inch 5400 RPM 1 TB / 1000 GB Hard drive pulled from a laptop computer using the above stated cable.
Total time to Zero Fill: 11 hours.
Plus a little extra prep time and to finalize it with a NTFS quick format.
Another nifty feature to the free Disk Genius is you can zero fill unused free space.
Say you deleted a bunch of important files and folders, you can zero fill the unused space to make these deleted files unrecoverable.
The only drawback is that will do all your free space and if you have a lot it can take a long time to finish the job. In which case, you might be better off with a file/folder shredder like Eraser.