Confusion about wiping the hard drive clean....

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by RCGuy, Jul 31, 2006.

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  1. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    I think I'm ready for a new computer and I would to thoroughly wipe or erase what's on my hard drive. Now, I've heard from several sources that by simply reformatting the hard drive by reinstalling your OS(Windows XP Home Edition in my case), that that would amply do the job. However, I've come across articles like this that lead me to believe that more is needed:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/823761/posts

    Could someone please clear this up for me once and for all as to what a person needs to do to adequately clean their hard drive before selling or getting rid of their old computer?
     
  2. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    In THEORY, someone can use file recovery software of varying degrees of sophistication to recover the files that you have simply "formatted over". The actual bit patterns of the files are still there when you have only done the usual format from within Windows or DOS either one. There are plenty of free utilities out there which you could use (from within Windows, of course) to repeatedly write random 1s and 0s or any number of chosen characters in an ordered or random pattern onto every sector of the hard drive that can hold data. "Repeatedly" is the operative word here since, regardless of what you write, the idea is to strengthen the magnetic "impression" that you are writing, relative to what was there before, to such a high degree that the old data becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to recover.

    If you were going to sell this PC to, say, your brother, why bother ? In reality, I suspect the odds of whoever you sell or give the PC to trying to recover confidential data are pretty slim, but paranoia always makes good press, you know ?
     
  3. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply, crofttk. Also, I just found this article that I had bookmarked but I had never read completely:

    Clean the Hard Drive Before Dumping Your PC

    I read the last paragraph of the 2. Reformat the Hard Drive and Re-install the Operating System section and kind of frowned silently inside myself. :( I continued reading the 3. Buy Software and Overwrite the Disk, Again and Again and Again section, but I'm glad that crofttk mentioned that there were free utilities available to sufficiently wipe out the hard drive. :) By the way, I don't think that I'm quite ready for the Acetylene Torch yet. :D
     
  4. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    By the way, does anyone know off hand any of the free utilites out there that can repeatedly and sufficiently write over the hard drive?
     
  5. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Here's a starting point with several freeware programs you can sort through. I haven't done this in a while so I can't recommend one specifically: http://www.majorgeeks.com/downloads12.html Look for the term "freeware" among these.
     
  6. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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  7. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    Go to the Terabyte website and download COPYWIPE for free. Be sure to download the version that's designed to run OUTSIDE of WINDOWS (DOS). COPYWIPE will work with a floppy or CD drive.

    There are several levels of secure wipe options.
     
  8. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    Hi, everyone. Thanks for the replies. Now, I've tried active@ killdisk before(even started a thread about it), however, I understand that it's only a one pass. But anyway, I think that I am interested in furball's suggestion and found the download site for the Terabyte COPYWIPE:

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/copywipe.html#download

    However, I have a question about the DOS download. For the DOS downlaod, "Self Bootable Diskette or CD" is mentioned. Now, I've downloaded a program to floppy disk before, but was wondering what's all involved in downloading a program to CD. Do I just use a blank CD-R disc to download the program onto? Also, I have an E Drive that I use to burn music to CD-Rs and was wondering if I use that drive to download or burn the DOS Copywrite program to disc? Or do my questions reveal that I don't know what in the world I'm doing? :D

    P.S. BTW, I have tons of blank CD-Rs and would prefer to use one of them instead of a floppy disc.
     
  9. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    :D Nice try but it's not as simple as downloading the file to the floppy or CD. You will have to take certain steps to make the floppy or CD bootable. You probably want to download the file to someplace on your hard drive for safe keeping, in a folder where you can extract the contents (if a compressed archive) and read the specific instructions they probably give for making the bootable floppy or CD.

    ETA: I checked and the download is a "zip" file which Windows XP will be able to read, and it has a 28 page user's manual in PDF format which includes instructions on making a bootable diskette -- not sure about CD. Hopefully you have Adobe Acrobat installed ?
     
  10. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    when u download the copywipe archive, extract teh files to a folder and double-click on makedisk.exe.

    it will ask if u want to change any of the default settings then it will ask which drive u want to use.

    u can select ur floppy or cd/dvd burner. in addition u can create an ISO if u want to burn it later or on a different computer.
     
  11. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    ISO file is the easiest way to create a bootable disc/CD. Use Nero or equivalent to burn the ISO file to your CD. Reboot PC with CD in ROM drive. Make sure that the ROM drive is set to 1st boot, followed by the HDD.
     
  12. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    Crofttk, WSFuser, and furballi, I hate to say this, but you alls last three posts sounded like Greek to me. :eek: Also, a 28 page user's manual? :eek: :eek: :eek: I was thinking about the 3. Buy Software and Overwrite the Disk, Again and Again and Again section in the Microsoft article that I posted. Let me see how much money I have in my checking account. :D :eek:
     
  13. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    1.Download CopyWipe for DOS.
    2.Extract CopyWipe.zip to any folder (any name) on your desktop.
    3.Go into this folder and click on MAKEDISK.EXE.
    4.Keep all the suggested default settings.
    5.At the Select Target screen, browse to your DESKTOP and give the ISO a name (like CopyWipe). Click FINISH box.

    You will now see CopyWipe.ISO on your desktop.

    If you have Nero, then go to Recorder\Burn Image. Browse to the DESKTOP. Click on CopyWipe.ISO to burn the copywipe program to a blank CD.
     
  14. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Sorry, I forgot to mention that the specific instructions you needed are on page 11. You only need the one page out of the 28, isn't that good news ?
     
  15. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    at step #5 (in furballi's post), u can also select ur cd/dvd burner instead. it saves u a bit of time.

    it had no problem with my plextor px-230a but of course, each computer is different.
     
  16. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    Hey guys. I'm ready to do this now. Now, I was going to got to the Terabyte site and download the COPYWIPE program, however, I clicked on WSFuser's DBAN link and I'm considering using that program before I attempt to go through all the steps for the COPYWIPE program. Now, for DBAN's "Download DBAN for installation on CD and DVD media" option, I was looking at the README.TXT file and I was wondering if someone could tell me if option "2.2 Creating the DBAN CD-R disc on Microsoft Windows" is easier than the instructions for downloading and burning COPYWIPE's program. Been on the net for about the last couple hours and I think that my brain is on info-overload and I'm having trouble absoring all this stuff. :doubt: BTW, I don't have Nero, and the only burning software that I have on my computer right now is WMP.
     
  17. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    Hey guys. I just looked at DBAN's FAQ page and clicked on the "HOWTO: Burn the DBAN ISO file with CDBurnerXP" link and I think that I will be able download and burn the DBAN program to a disc. But not tonight. ;)
     
  18. RCGuy

    RCGuy Registered Member

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    It be done! :D I followed all the instructions from the DBAN site, and it ended up being pretty easy. Also, DBAN's instructions were similar to the instructions given in this thread for Copywrite, but at the DBAN site, all the steps and instructions were provided there. They even provided a CD burner for their program. Also, it only took 2 hours, 6 minutes and 6 seconds to complete the 3 overwrite passes and everything went down without a hitch. :) However, about the only thing that I wondered about were the "several levels of secure wipe options" that furball mentioned for CopyWipe compared to the 3 passes that DBAN provided. But all in all, I'm happy. :)
     
  19. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    good job :thumb:
     
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