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Solved: Help needed to securely format hard drive - no screen or CD drive

Discussion in 'General Security' started by maracles, Jun 19, 2011.

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  1. maracles

    maracles Thread Starter

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    Hey Guys,

    I have a netbook which I want to recycle however it has been used for business purposes and I want to properly format the drive. The issue I have is that it does not have a CD drive nor does it have a working screen. I have connected the hard drive to external display and manually deleted all files from the computer but I know this is not really 'deleting' anything.

    How can I format the drive from within Windows? Unfortunately I cannot get bios to display on the external display so I can not do anything from DOS or Bios simply because I can't see anything!

    My latest attempt has been to use Active KillDisk to create a bootable USB however this is when I ran into the issue of the Bios and DOS not displaying, it will only display once windows has been loaded.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Ent

    Ent Trusted Advisor

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    CCleaner has a facility to wipe free space, which it does while the computer is running Windows. To access it open CCleaner, Go to Tools, go to Drive Wiper. Select the drives you want to work on and choose Wipe "Free space only".
    Essentially it creates a very large file (the size of the amount of free space you have) on your hard disk which is filled with random data, and then deletes it. The more passes it does the better.

    Make sure that you empty the recycle bin before running that though, otherwise they aren't technically deleted and won't be overwritten..
     
  3. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    format C: /x /p=1

    will securely write 1's to the entire partition.
     
  4. Ent

    Ent Trusted Advisor

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    Which would require that you then reinstall the OS.
     
  5. maracles

    maracles Thread Starter

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    Thank you for the responses. I am following the advice of Ent and using CCleaner to do the 7 pass 'NSA' wipe. If I intend to sell this laptop as parts do you think this is enough for any residual data to be safe? It wouldn't appear in a simple undelete program or something similar?
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    If you do not wipe the entire drive, darta can be recovered. There is no way to clean an installed OS so that personal data, credit card numbers, and so on, are removed from all locations. Even if the free space is wiped, data is still contained in a huge number of files that remain on the hard drive.

    If you want to make sure that nothing can be recovered, you need to wipe the entire drive and not just "free" space.
     
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