External hard drives are great for all sorts of things, but sometimes you get a bum drive. Doing a secure erase of the drive gives it a stress test before you put it into service.
Over at TidBITS, they have a variety of suggestions for maintaining hard drives, but this one’s easy: do a secure erase on it before you use it. This writes data to the entire drive and verifies that it can read and write data on every sector. If it survives the secure erase, then it’s good for holding data. Check out this guide for details on doing a secure erase.
Photo by Karen.