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How would I go about completely removing everything, OS, docs etc from my HDD so it's like they never existed on it?

I wish to know as I want to sell my PC and want the new owner to be able to install whatever they want on the HDD

asked Jun 05 '11 at 16:19

KaPOWitsCHRIS's gravatar image

KaPOWitsCHRIS
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I would use a program called DBAN (Derrick's Boot and Nuke) Just download it, burn it to a CD and restart and boot from the CD. This programs wipes the hard drive several times over. This is probably your best choice.

Just google DBAN

answered Jun 05 '11 at 16:22

jwire4's gravatar image

jwire4
1.2k505569

If you want a simple delete, format

If you want to make sure no one can find the data later on, use Dariks boot and nuke http://www.dban.org/

answered Jun 05 '11 at 16:22

kevin's gravatar image

kevin ♦♦
35.8k161317591

Another vote for Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN).

answered Jun 05 '11 at 16:35

The%20Kingfish's gravatar image

The Kingfish
386212

Spinrite, from Gibson Research, has functions that will erase your hard disk and write 1's and 0's multiple times to follow government guidelines for secure erasure. It also does other great stuff for servicing hard disks.

answered Jun 06 '11 at 01:37

Duodave's gravatar image

Duodave
4.6k404998

1

Spinrite 6.0 is an awesome program but at $89.00 it may not be financially feasible for someone who may only want to wipe data completely from a HDD once to sell to someone else. In that case, DBAN is free and works well, just doing the one thing the initial poster seems to want to do.

(Jun 08 '11 at 00:27) The Kingfish The%20Kingfish's gravatar image

Well if you really want to follow government guidelines then you will need to degauss your hard drive as well.

(Apr 25 '12 at 00:46) Lestat611 Lestat611's gravatar image

The only way you can completely leave the data undiscovered is to buy a new HDD. Many programs will claim to wipe it but there will always be a trace. When selling a PC I would strongly recommend replacing the HDD.

answered Jun 06 '11 at 06:37

Fish's gravatar image

Fish
7.3k110145216

You could also use the HDDGURU Low level format tool that just fills your hard drive with 1s and 0s making recovery of any information quite hard.

answered Jun 05 '11 at 16:33

SignOff's gravatar image

SignOff
(suspended)

Isn't when you low level format a drive it isn't just quire hard its quite impossible because its as if there were nothing ever on the drive it goes into every sector and deletes everything. Not saying your wrong or anything just my thought on the matter.

(Jun 05 '11 at 22:16) snack pack88 snack%20pack88's gravatar image

I'm not 100% sure, but when my hdd refused to boot installed linux or windows even after using normal wiping methods then re-installing I used that tool by connecting the drive to another PC and it fixed the problem. Normal wiping methods just hide the data and it's only deleted when you write new data to the disk. The tool takes ages though because it writes zeros and 1's (i.e new data) to the disk.

(Jun 06 '11 at 16:31) SignOff SignOff's gravatar image

I would suggest Darik's boot and nuke format. But what you have to take in as well the hidden back up of the master boot record that also needs to be wipes as well. which helps in restoring the master boot record on the hard drive as well. A simple boot and nuke should be fine. Unless your will to wait to fill it with all 1's and 0's to make sure nothing is recoverable in it. I remember doing low level formats even with DOS 3.3 way back when MFM, RLL were the main hard drives at that time.

(Feb 22 '12 at 12:32) Compucore Compucore's gravatar image

Use DBAN and use either 1 or 7 swipes. Your average buyer isn't going to go DoD on you and start recovering crazy stuff.

answered Jun 05 '11 at 22:23

Illusion%20Slayer's gravatar image

Illusion Slayer
(suspended)

is there an option to do it in BIOS?

answered Jun 06 '11 at 06:43

FromAutumnToSal's gravatar image

FromAutumnToSal
61373843

edited Jun 06 '11 at 06:43

not in any i have seen.

(Feb 22 '12 at 08:43) trueb trueb's gravatar image

There used to be a long time ago from 80296 processors up until the 80486 SX and DX Microcomputers. You could literally wipe the drive clean. But it has been removed from the BIOS itself from the Pentium on up. I have not seen it since then. I still have a Cyrix486 40DLC machine at home over here. with IDE connections on it. But there are no Sata connection and all ISA slots within the machine itself.

(Feb 22 '12 at 13:51) Compucore Compucore's gravatar image

Stick A Windows Installation disc and boot from that then Go to the setup and format the drive, then exit the install and you should have a wiped HDD.

answered Jun 07 '11 at 16:28

Ebotman16's gravatar image

Ebotman16
771677383

1

A wiped and formatted drive, yes. A drive with the data securely unrecoverable by the new owner, probably not. I'd use DBAN with 1, 7 or 35 passes (let it run overnight) to make sure sensitive information is obliterated, just for the peace of mind.

(Jun 08 '11 at 00:31) The Kingfish The%20Kingfish's gravatar image

A tool like dban will work fine. PS you don't need more than 1-2 passes. After 1 pass, a software tool will not be able to recover any data, though other recovery methods can still work (eg a data recovery company that goes through the process of using special machines to examine the platters)

But that process may be incredibly expensive and unlikely to be done by a random person buying a used PC from someone they know nothing about.

It might be different if you were the CEO of Intel and is known to have schematics for various chips on the system and are now planning to sell your laptop to get a little extra cash in order to afford a new laptop with the overpriced Intel SSD, then you may want to do 7 passes with DBAN.

answered Feb 22 '12 at 12:54

Razor512's gravatar image

Razor512
16.5k3683259

I'm 100% positive that a CEO of Intel does not need to sell his laptop to be able to aforde a new one. Esecially if they are going to use intel parts which they would be able to get for a big discount (if not for free).

(Apr 25 '12 at 00:39) Lestat611 Lestat611's gravatar image
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Asked: Jun 05 '11 at 16:19

Seen: 3,405 times

Last updated: Apr 25 '12 at 00:46