To neutralize the magnetic field of (a ship, for example).
To erase information from (a magnetic disk or other storage device).
To demagnetize (as a ship for protection against magnetic mines) by passing an electric current through a coil or coils along or around the edge in order to neutralize the surrounding magnetic field.
To neutralize or rebalance the magnetic field of a magnetized object, such as a computer monitor or the read/write head of a disk drive or tape recorder.
To erase information from a magnetic disk, tape, or other magnetic storage device.
Derived from the German mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss. “To degauss” is to remove magnetism from a device using a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). The CRT, invented by Karl Ferdinand Braun, is the display device used in most computer display monitors, video monitors, televisions, and oscilloscopes. Most televisions automatically degauss their picture tube when switched on, as do some monitors, but some monitors are degaussed manually. The magnetism of these tubes is removed because it can cause inaccuracies and misrepresentation of color. Before computer disks are discarded, companies often degauss them to remove proprietary information. Information on a CD-ROM, on the other hand, can be erased by simply putting the disc in a microwave oven. Critical personal information can be left on hard drives discarded by businesses that fail to take the proper precautions. According to North American laws, just pressing the Delete key to erase information is not good enough, for deleting data removes only the pointer to the data and not the data itself. If a cyber thief obtains information on a machine not properly cleaned and uses that information to commit, say, identity theft, the company may be fully or partially liable. A good tool for cleaning machines about to be discarded is Norton’s CleanSweep. Carruthers, S. Data Protection: Don’t Leave Your Company Secrets in the Trash. The Globe and Mail, April 27, 2005, p. B5; Farlex Inc. The Free Dictionary: Degauss. [Online, 2004.] Farlex Inc. Website. http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Degauss.
Origin of degauss
- de– gauss
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From de- + gauss.