I've killed my HDD

Hi All

I inherited an IBM Thinkpad T60 when I left my old job. It came with ‘Safeboot’, an application which required a password as soon as you turned the thing on. Unfortunately, when I downloaded Google Earth the whole system ran really slowly so (not knowing about system restore) I uninstalled it, deleted redundant files and then defragged but it was still just as slow. So I tried the Thinkpad’s ‘blue button’ and used the restore and recovery programme thinking I could get everything back to factory settings. Guess what? Safeboot now shows an error code and I can’t get in at all. Yep, I’ve effectively killed what was a perfectly good drive!

If I burn Linux onto DVD and start up my laptop, will it erase everything, including Safeboot, and provide an OS? Or should I run DBAN first (suggested on a Thinkpad forum) and then try Linux?

I know it’s an old machine but I’ve grown to love it and don’t really have the spare cash to simply replace it. I’m a complete newbie novice so any suggestions are gratefully received.



I take it you mean McAfee Safeboot ?

If so, I think it just encrypts the drive, so a normal format of the drive would be sufficient … obviously you’ll loose everything though.

It’s not McAfree its CST: http://www.cstl.com/products/Safeboot/Safeboot-Laptop-Encryption/Safeboot-Laptop-Encryption.asp. Normal formatting of the drive has been tried but failed. It’s a tough b*gger. >:(

Load an Ubuntu 11 CD and go for “try Ubuntu”
Start a shell
sudo su
apt-get install smartmontools
maximise the shell window
fdisk -l (to find out what your hard drive is called)
smartctl -A /dev/(your hard drive, probably “sda”)

Check out any “error” values on the drive. A hard disk that’s erroring in the background is (for me) the biggest single slowdown factor for PC’s.

  • and if it is, there’s a chance you’ve a bad block on the boot sector, in which case your disk is FUBAR.

Before anything, have you check the BIOS? Usually there’s a setting in there were you can disable it.

On the other hand if you just want to wipe the HDD and install a linux OS then you could try
(assuming you can boot into a live linux distro like Ubuntu as Mad Penguin suggested)
Fire up Gparted (essentially a GUI application for Fdisk)
just delete all the partitions and remember to commit the changes to the Master Boot Record.

You should now be able to install whatever OS you prefer to the HDD.