1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Solved: Want To Format Hard Drive To Return to MFG

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by Dick_in_SC, Jul 7, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. Dick_in_SC

    Dick_in_SC Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    I am not sure where to post this.

    I bought a new computer. It had an intermittent problem with the video card. The manufacturer agreed to replace it. I had loaded programs on the first computer and used it while awaiting the replacement unit. Now I need to return the bad computer, but I want to be sure that all my Information and personal data is gone. Can anyone tell me the best way to do it? The drive is a 1 TB with no partitions. I have tried using a program (Eraser) to securely delete my data , but that looks like it will take forever. I also tried Darik's Boot and Nuke. That would be the best solution but I could not get it to work. I think there was a problem with unrecognized USB ports. I know that a format does not guarantee my data cannot be recovered but I think that will be good enough. But how do I format the drive. I don't have a system disk, plus I don't want to reinstall the operating system in any case. I just want my stuff off the drive.

    I will certainly appreciate any help. Thanks very much.

    Dick
     
  2. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    59,587
    First Name:
    Chuck
    When you tried the USB drive version of Darik's Boot and Nuke, did you have your BIOS boot order set to boot from an external USB drive before the hard drive?

    Can you burn a CD version of Darik's Boot and Nuke and then have the computer's BIOS set to boot from CD before the hard drive?

    EDIT: If the computer did not come with recovery discs, it may have had a small hidden recovery partition on the hard drive.
     
  3. Dick_in_SC

    Dick_in_SC Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Thanks for the response. I did burn the ISO image to a DVD-R. When I boot with the DVD, DBAN starts normally, checks for USB ports, and when it lists the drives it finds, it shows several USB ports with question marks in front of them (??????) plus the drive I want to Nuke. I think that I read that means I need to deactive (?) those USB ports somehow. I have a USB keyboard and USB mouse hooked up to the computer. If I do nothing and just select the HD and tell it to get to work, I get an error message. I tried the autonuke option, with the same results. Hence, my question about a simple format. Thought that might be easier. I guess I need a boot disk to make that happen. Perhaps thee is a recovery partition, but if so, it is hidden. I need to look harder.

    Thanks again, and if you have any further advice, I would love to hear it.

    Dick
     
  4. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
    59,587
    First Name:
    Chuck
    Is there anything in the computer user documentation about restoring the computer to factory defaults? If it is from a major brand name manufacturer, give us the brand and exact model number and we may be able to tell you your recovery options.
     
  5. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    76,636
    First Name:
    Terry
    There's almost certainly a Recovery partition if you have no Recovery or installation DVDs with the purchase.

    Something in your Computer specs makes me think they are out of date and that you may have a Windows 7 installation DVD. If so, and if formatting the new PC's hard drive is sufficient, boot to the Windows 7 DVD and do the format.

    Something relatively simple like the bootable GParted can also do the format.
     
  6. Dick_in_SC

    Dick_in_SC Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Thanks guys. Color me embarrassed. I assume that I didn't have a restore disk because the replacement computer didn't have one. It asked me to make a restore disk (which I did). However, your question piqued my interest and rummaging around in the box for the first computer, I find a restore disk. However ... if I remember correctly when I use it to do a clean install of Win7, it is going wipe everything out, but it will give me a file called windowsold (or something like that). And then I will have the same problem as to how to securely get rid of it. Am I missing something? I think that I am making this too hard. All I want to do is give Dell back a computer with nothing of mine on it. I don't care if it doesn't have an operating system. I suppose that I could take the drive out and drill several holes in it, but somehow I don't think that would make them happy. Sorry to be so dumb!

    The computer is a Dell Studio XPS. Nice machine. Intel i7-960 and 12 gigs of RAM.
     
  7. MysticPixie

    MysticPixie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    102
    You could grab a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD. It has (or at least the last time I used it) several disk wiping programs.

    If you want to do a good job of it, it's going to take a while. A long while. I've had drive wipes take *days* to do. But then that was like 25 random binary overwrites +3 1, 0, 1 writes (i.e. completely fill the drive, completely empty the drive, completely fill the drive again).

    I was a fan of AutoClave.

    If you're really worried about your data, a simple format (even reinstalling Windows) won't do it.

    You'd be amazed at what can be recovered even after a few formats.
     
  8. Dick_in_SC

    Dick_in_SC Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Thanks. I'll look into AutoClave. However the machine is packaged up and waiting for FedEx to come pick it up. I finally decided to use a shredder program and spent the better part of the day deleting files using the DOD protocol with 3 passes. Maybe not perfect, but I doubt that anyone will spend that much time trying to restore them - if it is even possible. I am not sure what Dell will do with the drive when they get it back. They will probably just wipe it and re-use it in a refurb computer. Thanks again to those that offered help.

    Dick
     
  9. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/933996

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice