Author Topic: Erasing the hard drive  (Read 5718 times)

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Offline roy0812

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Erasing the hard drive
« on: January 27, 2019, 08:38:48 pm »
Hi

I am using peppermint 8 and want to sell 1 of my acer aspire 1 and need to wipe the hard drive but still have peppermint 8 on it. If I install it will it automatically wipe all previous information to as if it were new.

Thank in advance.

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Erasing the hard drive
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 08:54:49 pm »
When installing Peppermint it will give 3 options:-

a)" Install Peppermint alongside Peppermint"

b) "Erase Disk and Install Peppermint"

c) "Something Else" (this option allows you to manually specify a partitioning scheme)

Choose the "Erase Disk and Install Peppermint" option.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 08:57:16 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline SeZo

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Re: Erasing the hard drive
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 07:20:05 pm »
If you intend to sell the machine with the hdd in it then you would be advised to do a bit more than re-formatting the disk.
Please be aware that data can still be recovered after that.
I would suggest (as a minimum) to overwrite the entire disk with random data like:
Code: [Select]
dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdX bs=1M

Replace X with the target drive letter.

If you do that more than once then it is even better.
Once complete, then install peppermint on it

That way you will be safer to hand over the machine to strangers
See here for more options:
https://linoxide.com/linux-command/commands-wipe-disk-linux/


Offline roy0812

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Re: Erasing the hard drive
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2019, 08:08:40 pm »
Hi Mark

That's brilliant, will installing the peppermint on option 2 be enough? I have installed like that on my machine so that's good news.
Thanks in advance

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Erasing the hard drive
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 03:29:32 pm »
Option 2 will effectively create a new partition table, and a single partition (with a swapfile) and install Peppermint to that partition.

What it won't do is completely overwrite every sector on the drive with random gibberish (which is what SeZo is talking about).

So really it depends on how secure of a wipe you want .. using option 2 would still allow someone with the right skills (and software) to POSSIBLY recover some files (or fragments of files) .. but probably not your average user.

What you have to bear in mind is when a drive is wiped normally (like happens during a reinstall), all that happens is the drive 'map' is erased so all sectors are flagged as empty and available to be written to .. but the sectors themselves were not actually overwritten so they do actually still contain data until they are overwritten.

It takes special software to recover the data that still exists (as it may be scattered around the drive and there is no longer a 'map'), but theoretically it is still there .. the act of reinstalling will overwrite some of the data, but there's no guarantee it'll overwrite it all .. only doing what SeZo suggests will physically overwrite all sectors with zeros or random gibberish. Even then there may be a reserved section of the drive that doesn't get completely wiped so the ONLY way to be 100% sure NOTHING is recoverable (by someone with the requisite skills and equipment) would be to physically destroy the drive and replace it.

As I said, it depends what the PC was previously used for, and how security conscious you want/need to be.

If you've had banking details (or similarly sensitive data) on the PC and are selling it to someone who's skill level and/or motives are unknown, I'd suggest doing what SeZo says .. if this is just removing your pictures and music kinda thing, option 2 will probably suffice, but only you can decide that.

If on the other hand you're attempting to make sure even a forensic scientist couldn't recover anything .. this is your only option:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX7vrr6NBwA

« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 03:47:01 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline mikep

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Re: Erasing the hard drive
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2019, 11:32:31 pm »
Personally I always use Boot & Nuke.

And if the HDD in the laptop is the only drive, running SeZo's code twice is going to be difficult.

I love that video of drives being shredded though - but where can you find that service, and how do you know the stranger you hand over your drive to won't do a bit of data recovery instead? After all, you wouldn't want it destroyed if it was worthless, would you? I'd rather dismantle the drive myself, then smash the platters with a nice big hammer....
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 11:37:16 pm by mikep »

Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Erasing the hard drive
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2019, 01:54:39 pm »
I'm assuming SeZo meant to do that from a LiveCD/LiveDVD/LiveUSB.

Like you are with Boot & Nuke .. which is pretty much gonna be doing the same thing.
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