Clean wipe

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Superblobmonster, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Superblobmonster

    Superblobmonster New Member

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    I'm switching from Windows 7 to Linux mint, and want a totally clean fresh start.


    Is there anything I should to do to wipe my computer? Do any files stay on your computer when you switch OS? I'd imagine so because dual boot exists... Very new user, thank you for help.

    Just a note, I'm running all the appropriate backups so I'm prepared for when I accidentally screw up
    DevynCJohnson likes this.
  2. arochester

    arochester Well-Known Member

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    Best Answer
    If you are only using Linux Mint and tell it to install to the whole disk it will do just that. It will reformat and overwrite the drive to suit Linux.

    Some of the Windows files may be recoverable. Difficult but recoverable. You can totally wipe the drive by using something like Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) but you have to run it a few times to make sure. http://www.dban.org/
  3. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    You want to completely remove Windows? If so then you can use the Mint installer to remove Windows. OR you can use something like Gparted to wipe the drive.
  4. Superblobmonster

    Superblobmonster New Member

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    Fantastic, and for technical details sake, how does it handle overwriting the space? More or less marks the space as free, and doesn't write to the space unless it needs to, hence potentially recoverable data?
  5. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    Well... I'm not sure if data can be recovered after formating. It may be possible if someone is really determined for some reason.

    If you want total assurance, it may be worth looking at this tool: http://www.dban.org/
  6. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Even after formatting, the data is still recoverable. There are only two ways to truly delete data - wipe the storage space a few times or physically destroy the storage unit. (http://www.linux.org/threads/undelete-files-on-linux-systems.4316/)

    Users can even change the partitioning table (from/to MBR, GPT, Humax, Apple, etc.) and the deleted files are still there.
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  7. Superblobmonster

    Superblobmonster New Member

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    Wow, I'm not THAT determined to clean out my system XD But it's good to know none the less
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  8. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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  9. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    Since what you want to do is something as simple as replace one operating system with another for daily use, all you need to do is "use the entire disc" when installing. For your purposes the old system will be gone and you will be in open source bliss. Theory and reality using both simple procedures and NASA equipment to recover lost files is something you need not concern yourself with, especially since you stated your back-up files are up-to-date. (That already puts you a couple steps ahead of many converts and would-be-converts who, for some reason, do not have back-up copies of files until after a disaster.)
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  10. SLW210

    SLW210 Member

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    I find it best to totally wipe the drive using dban, I use the ultimate boot CD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

    You just never know what nasties are lurking on a hard drive.
  11. lobo

    lobo Active Member

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    You don't need fancy tools - just boot from any livecd and:
    Code:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=1M
    (where sdX is the block device you want to overwrite - make sure you are overwriting the correct disk)

    This will pipe an endless stream of zeros and write them to the disk until there is no more disk left to write to.

    The idea that the intelligence agencies can recover data after a zero fill is actually nonsense propagated by companies selling crapware products to mainstream proprietary OS users.
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  12. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    How long would it take to zero out a hard drive that way?
  13. lobo

    lobo Active Member

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    As long as it takes. The size of the drive and bus type, cache, etc, etc are all factors.
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  14. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    dd is so great.
  15. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I would use the dd command on a FOR-LOOP and run it three times for extra security. Even open-source software offers the option of multiple wipes. On some storage, if the data has been on the same physical location for a long enough time, the data still exists a little bit after wiping. Sometimes, I get these weird micro-SD cards that keep corrupting and repeated wiping fixes them. It is like resistors gain a semi-permanent preference to a particular charge, so I partially disagree with your last paragraph.
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  16. lobo

    lobo Active Member

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    Interesting, do you have further reading on this "ghost" impression left behind by data? I cannot find any solid evidence of this anywhere on the web.

    For the ultra paranoid, you can alternate between writing /dev/zero and /dev/urandom
  17. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Well-Known Member Staff Member Staff Writer

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    As you can see, in a way we are both correct. For general purposes, one pass (like you said is enough), but more may be needed.

    http://superuser.com/questions/215852/is-using-multiple-passes-for-wiping-a-disk-really-necessary

    http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2289766

    http://bleachbit.sourceforge.net/documentation/shred-files-wipe-disk

    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=634716


    Links that support one-pass -

    http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/16130-The-Urban-Legend-of-Multipass-Hard-Disk-Overwrite.html

    http://www.howtogeek.com/115573/htg-explains-why-you-only-have-to-wipe-a-disk-once-to-erase-it/


    In general, this is a debatable topic.
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  18. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    If I wanted to remove all traces of data on my hard-drive so that it could never be covered, even with the most sophisticated tools, I would accomplish the task quickly and easily.

    Remove the hard-drive and destroy it.

    If paranoia is accompanied with realism, it is paranoia. If it is not, it is insanity.
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  19. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    Microwave ?
  20. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Too deadly. ;)

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