Wiping a Hard Drive of an OS + Files

I’ve and old PC from a mate, it doesn’t work, but their needing the HDD wiped clean of their personal files.

can i just add it to my PC and use eraser to delete everything from the old HDD, will i be given the choice of OS to boot from when it recognises another OS on the old HDD.

i’m not sure what size this HDD is, but it may come in handy as an external for me :wink:

darik’s boot and nuke!

-disconnect any hard drives you don’t want “nuked” (VERY IMPORTANT)
-connect the drive that needs to be wiped
-insert the DBaN bootable CD and reboot
-follow a couple simple walkthrough screens (or simple select autonuke) and say goodbye to any chance of reading anything that was ever on that drive

there was actually a recent dl.tv podcast on sanitizing hard drives. DBaN has always been my favorite and was positively reviewed on the show, but I’m sure you can find their other recommendations on the dl.tv website as well. I think the episode was from a week or so ago [/nerd]

thanks reasons, i’ll have a look at it

IMO when it comes to free disk wipers , cbl’s data shredder is far better then dban (more methods & more secure) , get it @ http://www.cbltech.com/data-recovery/software/data-shredder.html , i recommend the “bruce schneier” method

i actually think that was the other piece of software they recommended on the podcast I mentioned lol.

it all depends on how paranoid you are I guess. I hear the gutmann method is quite good too :wink: (isn’t that like 35 passes or something ridiculous)

both programs are easy to use, but if you need to prove to whomever you’re getting the drive from that their data isn’t getting anywhere then go with CBL.

I think CBL has a bootable CD as well in case the reason you need to format is because things are really screwed up

i don’t think i’ll have to prove much, as they were going to throw the base unit in the skip, i may ask to try and fix it & keep it, as they are emigrating to New Zealand in august so they won’t be needing it.


didna work

installed dban onto floppy, set PC to boot from floppy first, unplugged my drives & plugged in old drive, rebooted with floppy inserted, now PC just sat at post op screen i think it’s called, don’t think it recognised the drive.

i then tried to install it as a slave drive & it’s still not being recognised, PC still hung as post op screen.

think the drive cound be knackered

Try killdisk.


actually its called “post” without the op
is it the only drive on the cable?
did you connect the ide cable in the right order? example 1—2---3
connector 1 (blue) - goes to motherboard ide socket
connector 2 (grey) - goes to slave drive
connector 3 (black) - goes to master drive

also check bios settings , if theres a thing called “ide hdd auto detection” in it then use it

thanks Doc, but i don’t think i’ll manage to wipe it because it’s not being recognised at post, my PC just hangs there :confused:

cheers EB, post it is :bigsmile: i can’t even get into the BIOS when it’s connected.

it was connected to the same ide connector as my original master

looks like i’ll have to take it outside & shoot it with a 12 bore :bigsmile: (joking)

i was hoping to put the drive into an enclosure and use it as in HDD image or music storage

another thing i forgot to mention , you sure you connected the ide cable connectors in the right way to the motherboard & drive? (not upside down that is) , notice the key…

yip, ide cable was in the correct way, it can only go in 1 way.

jumper was also set to master for the first try on it’s own, then slave when i tried it with my own master

Like most other disc erasers, dban is based on a Linux
kernel. You can use any live bootable Linux distro
like Knoppix, Damn Small Linux or Slax to do the
same job.

The master drive on the primary IDE controller is
usually seen by Linux as /dev/hda

This command will overwrite the entire drive with
gibberish generated by the Linux pseudo-random
number generator.

dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/hda

Overwriting the drive with zeros is much faster, but
not quite as secure.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda

Use with caution! Follow reasonsnotrules good advice
about disconnecting any drives you don’t want to nuke.

I tried dban to see if it would work on my system.
It booted ok and it could see my internal IDE and
SATA drives. It didn’t see my external USB2 drive.
As the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad :slight_smile:

Check that your dban ISO download is not
corrupted. Mine is:
dban-1.0.7_i386.iso 2146304 bytes.

MD5 checksum:
d6ee60178e28882c44495f37b1f672d8 dban-1.0.7_i386.iso

SHA1 checksum:
feb89f88ff93c5ed481093c5dee9e9cfb405d996 dban-1.0.7_i386.iso

when i connect the old drive to my PC as master on the master IDE cable my PC just hangs on post, i cant even get into the BIOS

i downloaded the floppy version of dban

thanks for all the help everyone :smiley:

Bj can you hook up the old drive as slave with your OS on master, boot to master drive and look at the files on the old hdd?

no, thats the thing Bob, when i do that it still hangs on post & i have to hard shut down, as soon as it’s dissconnected, & i reboot, my PC boots up fine

i’m thinking it’s knackered

fyi, it’s got win95 on it

Will dban boot properly if the HDD is not connected?

It might be a faulty HDD or a problem with the jumper
settings. What make/model is it? Some IDE drives need
a very strange jumper configuration to work properly.
I remember spending a long time trying to configure
a WD drive which didn’t use the normal combination
of pins for Master/Slave/CS.

Does the drive spin up when when you power it up?

Thats fairly old! As a last resort, give it a good
whack at one corner at the exact moment you
apply the power. This will sometimes unstick
a drive which has been unused for a long time.

great, i love getting technical like that :iagree:


TBH, i never tried it, because i thought it may start to wipe my master HDD, or do you mean with out a HDD conected :confused:

the drive is a seagate medialist 10240

jumper settings on it are

master on single drive
enable CS
master on non ata compatible drive
limit drive to 2.1 GB

:slight_smile: Works every time on my old 8GB Samsung. It jams
solid if I don’t power it up more than once a month.

It should boot without any HDD. It won’t be able to do much,
but at least it would prove that the dban floppy is ok.

Just putting the jumper in the master position
should work ok with an old Seagate. Try it
without any jumper on the master or slave pins.

Can you hear the drive spinning?