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Thread: A few questions about wiping my hard drive.

  1. #1

    A few questions about wiping my hard drive.

    Hi,

    My computer is fairly old and it's been a while since I've formatted it and I've slightly neglected it recently so it's not as fast as it once was. So what I want to do is completely erase everything on my hard drive. I want to wipe it, not just format it. I have everything I want to save on an external HDD.
    So my questions are the following:

    1. After I completely erase everything on the hard drive, how do I install Windows XP again? In BIOS, I have my primary drive set as my dvd/cd drive. Can I just pop in the Windows XP cd and install it from BIOS? Also, will BIOS work with completely empty hard drives? My guess would be that BIOS works from the motherboard but I'm not sure.

    2. I've read that wiping is usually done multiple times, why is that? If everything on the hard drive is replaced by 0's or 1's on the first run, why would you do that again?

    3. What is some good freeware for wiping hard drives? I have CCleaner on my comuter but it won't wipe the drive where the operating system is installed.

    4. I have a C and D drive, but I'm not entirely sure if they are two seperate drives or just partitions on one drive. How do I find out? And if they are partitions on the same drives, how (and at what point) do I recreate them?

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  2. #2
    It's a good idea to wipe & reload sometimes. I do it a lot but that's just because I upgrade all the time.

    1. Yes, you have the right idea. The BIOS works even with no drives! Like, you could boot from a USB flash drive and have zero hard drives or optical drives and still have a working computer. The BIOS is on the mobo, so it works fine without drives.

    2. For security reasons, wiping is done multiple times with different algorithms. This is usually for security when selling/trashing HDDs, though. Companies and the gov't do this a lot, and power users! You don't need to do many passes if you're just gonna reinstall your OS, though. That would just end up wasting an entire day for you.

    3. DBAN! http://www.dban.org/

    4. Well, the easiest dumb way to check is to open your case and see how many HDDs are in there! 100% guaranteed! Otherwise you can check device manager or computer management > disk management. If you have two hard drives then you cna disconnect one while you install Windows on the other one. If you have two partitions then you can recreate them at install time. WinXP will do partitioning of the HDD for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    The frozen tundra, i.e. ND
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    I second jolly's choice of DBAN. Even if it does take a while to wipe a drive, it does so thoroughly.
    "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" ~ Ben Franklin

  4. #4
    Yay!

    DBAN's pretty good at secured wiping and it's free! But it can do just zero-filling if you want. Takes much less time! And it wipes formatting and all that.

  5. #5
    Thanks guys, that's all I needed to know.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    N of the S of Ireland
    Posts
    20,504
    When you boot to a WinXP installation CD with a single wiped drive in situ then setup will begin to run automatically and you just then follow the prompts.

    It can be a good idea to backup your drivers before reinstalling and there are utilities that will do this for you and maybe save you ages finding them again after the reinstallation.
    Take nice care of yourselves - Paul - ♪ -
    Help to start using BiNG. Some stuff about Boot CDs & Data Recovery Basics & Back-up using Knoppix.

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