best to to clean out external harddrive

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by wutsup, Sep 11, 2010.

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  1. wutsup

    wutsup Registered Member

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    hey wilders,

    well im going to reinstall windows onto a new harddrive cause the one im using right now is dying slowly and im going to download all my video card drivers, sound card drivers, and security software before and put it onto my external harddrive to save time.

    but i want to make sure i dont have any malware/rootkits on my external harddrive. so whats the best way to clean out my external western digital harddrive and start from a fresh and clean slate

    would a quick format or regular format get rid of all the old data and malware/rootkits from my external harddrive.

    or is there a better way?
     
  2. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    A hard drive "zero" write (from bootable disk) is preferred over formatting to make sure that no Malware remains. You should be able to use the hard drive manufacturer's bootable diagnostics disk to accomplish this.

    Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnositics bootable ISO Image:

    http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=610&sid=30&lang=en

    Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics Manual:

    http://www.wdc.com/en/library/other/2779-701022.pdf

    Another option would be to use the CopyWipe bootable CD:

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/copywipe.php

    See pages 17-21 of the CopyWipe Manual:

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/downloads/copywipe.pdf

    On page 17 choose "USB2 HD"

    Wipe Option: "Quick - One Pass"
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  3. wutsup

    wutsup Registered Member

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    these will work for my EXTERNAL harddrive?

    or could i use ccleaner? it has an option do to secure deletion overwrites (1 pass, 3 passes, 7 passes, and 35 passes)
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  4. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    I am not sure if the Western Digital Data Lifeguard bootable CD will work with your external USB hard drive. You will have to try it to see if it detects your external USB hard drive. The manual says that the Windows version of Data Lifeguard Diagnostics will work with your external USB hard drive. If you think that your external hard drive is infected, it is not recommended to use the Windows version since there is a chance that the Malware will infect your Windows partition when you turn on/connect to the external USB hard drive.

    CopyWipe should work with your external USB hard drive. Try it.

    There is another software option which should be much easier for you. The Partition Wizard bootable CD:

    http://www.partitionwizard.com/partition-wizard-bootable-cd.html

    I just connected up my homemade external USB2 Seagate 320 GB SATA hard drive and Partition Wizard detected it without any problems. Once you boot into Partition Wizard you click on the Disk Number which describes your external hard drive that you want to wipe, click on "wipe disk" from the menu at the left, click on "OK" ("Fill Sectors with Zero" is the default option). I have never used Partition Wizard to "wipe" a hard drive, but it sure looks easy.
     
  5. wutsup

    wutsup Registered Member

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    i dont think its infected but i just want to make sure.

    should i just to regular format then?
     
  6. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    The only way to be sure that the external USB hard drive is "Malware Free" is to do a "zero" write to all sectors of the hard drive. The disadvantage is that the "zero" write operation takes some time (up to a few hours depending on the hard drive size). I would do the "zero" write to be sure.

    I have read somewhere on this forum that "some" increase in Windows Operating System performance is seen when you do a "zero" write to a hard drive before you partition and format it in preparation for the installation of the Windows Operating System. I plan to try this the next time I build a new PC for myself.

    Formatting a Hard Drive Comments:

    I feel that it is always Best to do a Full Format rather than a Quick Format. It is my understanding that a Full Format will "mark" any bad sectors on the hard drive. Sure a Quick Format only takes a few minutes versus up to several hours for a Full Format. A Full Format is the way to go. I have done a Full Format on two different 1 TB hard drives and both took a little under 3.5 hours (each) to complete.
     
  7. wutsup

    wutsup Registered Member

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    im not trying to reformat my internal harddrive. im trying to clean out my EXTERNAL harddrive so i can use it to back up stuff before i install windows onto a new harddrive.

    would ccleaner's wipe free space option be similar to writing 0's from a program such as kill disk or dban?
     
  8. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    There is no need to zero-out the whole surface.
    Download Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows select write zeros "QUICK ERASE" (writes zeros to the first and last million of sectors). And then proceed by repartitioning/reformating your drive.

    ps. no malware survives a quick or regular format. Only mbr rootkits survive a format, but unless they reside at your boot drive you have nothing to worry about.

    Panagiotis
     
  9. wutsup

    wutsup Registered Member

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    oh so i dont need to do a zero fill?

    i think im just gonna use ccleaner wipe free space and then just do a quick format.

    i think im just being overly paranoid about malware on the external harddrive.
     
  10. GlobalForce

    GlobalForce Regular Poster

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    Straight-up advice Panagiotis - thanks again for yet another educational post!
     
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