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Thread: How to format my hard drive?

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    How to format my hard drive?

    Hey everyone

    Basically, im a complete novice with the software side of pc's, erm, any ideas how i format my hard drive, i want to sell my pc, but its full of viruses and the lot, and also, will formatting the pc actually remove and corruptions?

    I have some cd's,

    intel 3-series utility cd (chipsets INF?)
    asus graphics card manual v487
    asus vga Driver 3d graphis & video accelerator v467
    a monitor software cd
    A8V series Motherboard CD

    Would I need an actual windows xp or vista cd to get the operating system or will the utility cd do it for me?

    I need help desperately!

    Cheers guys

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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    Ah, time to use my new knowledge I recently picked up off the BBC. The best way to wipe a hard drive is not to format it, as the data is still easily recoverable. Short of buying an entirely new hard drive, you should use a free utility called Darik's Boot and Nuke. This overwrites the hard drive with zeros, essentially making it "fresh" again. Here's a link I found off google: http://www.dban.org/download

    For the juicy details, here's the BBC article:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8056364.stm

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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Englander View Post
    Ah, time to use my new knowledge I recently picked up off the BBC. The best way to wipe a hard drive is not to format it, as the data is still easily recoverable. Short of buying an entirely new hard drive, you should use a free utility called Darik's Boot and Nuke. This overwrites the hard drive with zeros, essentially making it "fresh" again. Here's a link I found off google: http://www.dban.org/download

    For the juicy details, here's the BBC article:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8056364.stm
    This is a good point. If you want to 'wipe' your disk clean then you do need to use a program that will write data over every part of the drive. So called 'deleted' data can still be recovered in most cases - and there are programs that will do it for you (or any user who buys your computer).

    However, if you want a simple way to format - download a linux distribution and use fdisk:-

    http://www.ehow.com/how_1000631_hard-drive-linux.html

    That is a hit that came up - but ubuntu forums also has a good tutorial that I used the first time I did it. Using an ubuntu liveCD might be the easiest if you haven't done this sort of thing before.

    Get the live cd from:-

    http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

    Burn that .iso file to a CD-R or DVD-R

    1) Stick that in and tell the computer to boot from CD...
    2) Select try ubuntu without installing - it's the first one in the menu
    3) When it loads up, click 'services' in the tab at the top of the desktop
    4) Click 'administration'
    5) Click 'Partition Editor'

    At this stage it should have detected your Hard Drive. Click on any existing partitions and select delete. When done, there should just be a single large block of unused space that covers the entire disk. Select this and make a new partition. Choose partition type (doesn't matter what as whoever installs on it next will format anyway) - and press write to table. Done.

    This should be all you need to do to get rid of viruses, old data, etc - unless someone REALLY wants to recover them. However, if you want to get rid of all the p0rn, make sure you use a program to nuke the drive before you sell it. You could always format it afterwards.

    Quick tute - don't flame me for the ubuntu add, it just seemed easiest Personally I always format using a minimal gentoo cd and fdisk, but I thought gparted would be more appropriate in this case.
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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by zephod View Post
    This is a good point. If you want to 'wipe' your disk clean then you do need to use a program that will write data over every part of the drive. So called 'deleted' data can still be recovered in most cases - and there are programs that will do it for you (or any user who buys your computer).

    However, if you want a simple way to format - download a linux distribution and use fdisk:-

    snip--->

    Sorry zephod, but that is completely wrong!


    First of all, formatting a hard disk really isn't formatting it as such (or in the same way as a floppy disk is formatted). All format does is add a file system to the drive, and while it overwrites the file pointers, the actual data on the disk remains, and is readable. (Formatting a floppy disk really does lay down the sector markers on the surface and a full format will erase a floppy disk)

    Fdisk doesn't even do that - all that does is re-write the partition table (64 bytes for the primary one and each extended partition) so all the data remains intact and with some effort the partition table can be recovered. It isn't a trivial task, but is possible.

    So either use the nuke program, or if you want the Linux solution, download the linux live CSD and use the dd program

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/your hard drive where your hard drive is hda, hdb.... or sda, sdb... or whatever - you will need to do some checking first. That will write zeros to every addressable location on the target drive.

    The other alternative is a big hammer.....
    Last edited by peterb; 25-05-2009 at 11:06 PM.
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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    thanks very much for the advise. I'm looking to do the same thing with an old computer to sell it for a similar reason.

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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    Just one thing, don't waste your time on the complicated wiping techniques. Single pass of zero's is all you need.

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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lourdes View Post
    Just one thing, don't waste your time on the complicated wiping techniques. Single pass of zero's is all you need.
    This.

    I read lots of bogus claims of requiring a gazillion random write passes to 'properly secured erasing' of data. A single write of zeros completely rules out software recovery of data, and deep mag. field platter inspection costs a *lot* in time, money, and expertise. Well beyond the means of most individuals and organisations. And frankly, your p0rn archive is not worth the effort.

    As for viruses, a simple reformatting of your filesystem is enough to render virus patterns harmless, since their files are no longer addressable, and will inevitably be overwritten as new files are created.
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    Re: How to format my hard drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lourdes View Post
    Just one thing, don't waste your time on the complicated wiping techniques. Single pass of zero's is all you need.
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/your hard drive (from Linux live CD)

    Job done (reasons and background see my post here
    Last edited by peterb; 30-05-2009 at 09:29 PM.
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