View Full Version : Question For Tech Savvy Folks

03-19-2005, 07:17 PM
I have a new PC and would like to donate my old PC.
However, I know there is a ton of personal info on that old PC that should be erased.

Therefore, the question -- What's the best method to delete all that "stuff" on the old hard-drive ???



Cueless Joey
03-20-2005, 02:38 AM
Format it and reinstall the Windows operating system ( I pressume 98.)

03-20-2005, 08:52 AM
Dumb me doesn't even know how to format the hard-frive.
I've never had to do it.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cueless Joey:</font><hr> Format it and reinstall the Windows operating system ( I pressume 98.) <hr /></blockquote>

03-20-2005, 09:51 AM
Go to Google and type in DBAN...download it and install it to a floppy disk. Then boot up the computer with this disk and use it to format it. This program will SECURELY erase any and all items on the hard drive.


03-20-2005, 12:26 PM
Boot into DOS or open a DOS window
Put a blank floppy into the drive.
At the prompt, type the command; cd\windows\command &lt;enter&gt;
At the c:\windows\command prompt, type the command; format a: /s &lt;enter&gt;
Wait for the format to complete and the system files to be copied.
At the c:\windows\command prompt, type the command; copy fdisk.exe a:\ &lt;enter&gt;
At the c:\windows\command prompt, type the command; copy sys.com a:\ &lt;enter&gt;
At the c:\windows\command prompt, type the command; copy format.com a:\ &lt;enter&gt;

Reboot the computer from the floppy.

If the computer fails to boot from the floppy, you have to change the boot sequence in the BIOS. Enter setup after the power on self test, and find the boot sequence. Change it to CDROM,A,C or A,CDROM,C. Just make sure A comes before C. Now you can reboot from the floppy and run fdisk to delete the partition.

At the a: prompt, type the command; fdisk &lt;enter&gt;
in fdisk, delete all partitions on the fixed disk.

The disk is wiped at this point. You can use fdisk to create a new partition and reinstall windows, or you can leave it for the next guy. Just formatting the hard drive will not get rid of the data- deleting the partition will.

If you want to reformat the drive and prepare it for a new OS:

To create a new partition, follow the instructions in fdisk to create a primary DOS partition. Select FAT32 as the file system. Accept the maximum size and make it active.

Reboot the machine from the floppy.
At the a: prompt type the command; format c: /s &lt;enter&gt;

Wait for the format to complete. You are now ready to install windows. Your computer must be capable of booting from the Windows CD for this to work. If it can't boot from CD, you need to install a generic CDROM driver before the machine will recognize the CD drive. Unless this is a very old machine, this won't be an issue.

To install Windows:
Pop out the floppy and put the Windows CD in the drive. Reboot the computer from the Windows CD and follow the instructions in setup.

03-20-2005, 02:18 PM
This I can follow... THANKS !!!


03-20-2005, 02:43 PM
You're welcome Troy. PM me if you get stuck.


03-22-2005, 09:56 AM
Depending on who you donate the cpu to, I wouldnt even reload anything back on it. Just list the hardware specifications, and donate away.

Our company wipes our computers, and donates them as is, with no operating system.

03-26-2005, 05:46 AM
The step by step given is acurate to prep an old hard drive for a new OS but not for donating a hard drive with sensitive information on it.

Fdisk and format do virtually nothing to the actual data on the drive and anyone with basic data abilities can recover major amounts of information from the disk.

Someone already mentioned DBAN (http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/) and I can also recommend Wipe (http://sourceforge.net/projects/berkewipe/) which is another thorough low level file eraser. Both are free.

Basically you need a tool that will methodicaly go over the entire storage area of the disk and write data to the disk over and over again in random pattern that will overwhelm the "magnetic memory" of the disk. This is a very poor description of what is actually being done but it conveys the general meaning. These tools are often called shredders, wipers, or cleaners.

03-26-2005, 06:29 AM
Troy, theinel is technically correct that some data could still be recoverable after an FDISK. I will say that I have done data recovery, and it's not as simple as some people would have you think, as the data is always badly fragmented (unless it's a brand new drive)- but if you have extremely sensitive data, you may still want to use a disk sanitizer (or just physically destroy the drive).