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How to definitively, totally and irrevocably wipe all the stuff off my PC?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 aaandy

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 04:37 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I recently had a scare with a virus and I feel like I'd have more peace of mind if I went nuclear and just wiped my computer. I'm using a Samsung Windows 7. I want absolutely no trace of anything left, so I can be assured the problem has gone. History, old files, the lot - I want it all destroyed.

 

My question is - If I get the engineer to totally uninstall and reinstall my OS, will this definitely and irrevocably wipe all the previous data off my system? 

 

My stuff is all well backed up, so I'm not worried about losing files. I just want a completely new start! Will an OS uninstall-reinstall do the job?

 

Thanks, and apologies if this is an obvious question - I don't know much about this area of things. 

 

Andrew 


Edited by aaandy, 20 January 2016 - 05:13 AM.


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#2 Havachat

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 05:32 AM

If you get and Engineer ? or just reinstall Windows yourself this will wipe the drive , yet old files can still be recovered until they become written over at later stages , so over time the harder it is to retrieve.

 

If you want to completely remove everything and do a secure wipe and then reinstall windows , then everything before will be unretrievable.

 

To do this there are various ways and programs to do so ,  i myself use MiniTool Partition Wizard Free   http://www.partitionwizard.com/

if you select Wipe Partition after selecting the drive  it will give you 4 Options as to how to do and what level to do so , once you make your choice and click ok it becomes the Task , then simply click Apply and it will start the task.

I just use - Write Zeros , others will take longer to do and depending on the size of the drive.

I tested drives after the wipes and Recovery tools found nothing to recover,

 

The last drive i did a 3TB took about 20 hrs to wipe securely , so writing Ones and multiply passes will take longer yet more secure.

 

Remove the Drive you wish to wipe and connect to any other computer with Minitool installed and wipe it , ensure you pick the correct drive to wipe and not anything else on that PC.


Edited by Havachat, 20 January 2016 - 05:40 AM.


#3 Niweg

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 04:18 PM

 I've always used DBAN (Darricks Boot and Nuke).  You can find it here:

http://www.dban.org/ .

 

 Good luck.


Make regular full system backups or you'll be sorry sooner or later.


#4 aaandy

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:43 PM

Thanks for all your help, everyone - I appreciate it.

 

I presume I will need a Windows re-installation disk for all this, otherwise I'm screwed, right?



#5 Guest_hollowface_*

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 01:08 AM

had a scare with a virus and I feel like I'd have more peace of mind if I went nuclear and just wiped my computer.

Sounds like over-kill, unless you were actually infected, but I'd do the exact same thing. :P

If I get the engineer to totally uninstall and reinstall my OS, will this definitely and irrevocably wipe all the previous data off my system?

No. He/she would also need to "zero" the drive. This will destroy the partition table (protecting you from certain types of rootkits), and erase all data from the drive (including files that have been deleted, but not yet overwritten). Then the "engineer" would create a new partition table, re-install Windows 7 (a license key and disc is required), and install drivers for your system (which you might need to provide).

I presume I will need a Windows re-installation disk for all this, otherwise I'm screwed, right?

Yes. If you delete everything from the drive you will need a Windows 7 installation disc, a Windows 7 license key, and you'll need drivers for your system. You're also going to have to re-install all of your software.

#6 Adam Pollard

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 05:14 AM

Writing zeroes to drive is not necessary to stop malware. When a malware file is deleted, and Windows freshly installed, there is no way for it to run. Malware has to have a way to run on starting the OS, ie an instruction to execute has to be sent by the operating system, which will be a startup setting or infected boot file. A clean install is all that is needed, unless you have some type of exotic malware that's infected a piece of firmware, eg bios, hidden area of the hard drive, etc, but there is nothing you can do about that.



#7 Niweg

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 10:54 AM

"I presume I will need a Windows re-installation disk for all this, otherwise I'm screwed, right?"

 

DBAN runs from a CD.  You just put the CD in the drive and boot from it.

 

Good luck.


Make regular full system backups or you'll be sorry sooner or later.


#8 dc3

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 01:14 PM

Most OEM computers with Windows 7 installed came with a recovery partition rather than a installation disc.  You can use the partition to reinstall the operating system.  This will format the hdd and install not only the operating system, but will install all of the drivers as well.  This basically will revert the operating system to the condition it was in when it was taken out of the box.  This means that you will lose any programs installed or other data, such as emial address, pictures, documents, movies, music, etc.

 

If you post the make and model of this computer I will provide a link to instructions to use this partition.


Edited by dc3, 21 January 2016 - 01:15 PM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#9 Adam Pollard

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 04:53 PM

If he had malware, the recovery partition could also be infected. Only a clean install can be counted on. There is no need to use DBAM or anything similar unless he is trying to hide files (from the feds or NSA whatever)



#10 aaandy

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 10:46 PM

Hi everyone,

 

Thanks for the feedback. And heh, not trying to hide information from the feds, but I definitely don't like the idea of any of my personal information becoming available to some malware, virus etc...

 

I see there is some debate over the best way to deal with things - I may take the most intense, extreme path just to feel absolutely comfortable!

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed - I appreciate your help a great deal.



#11 FreeBooter

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 11:09 AM

Staring from Windows Vista Diskpart Clean All command can be use to delete all partitions and write zeros to all sectors which will completely delete all data on HDD  sectors. You can boot your computer from Windows Vista or later version of Windows Setup DVD and at where to install window press Shift + F10 to open the Command Prompt enter below commands one at time make sure to backup all your files as command you will execute deletes all partitions and files on the HDD.

 

 

Diskpart

 

Select Disk 0

 

Clean All

 

Make sure you select correct disk you can view all attached disks by typing List Disk command.


Edited by FreeBooter, 22 January 2016 - 12:04 PM.

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#12 Niweg

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:02 PM

 Personally I make full system backups and just restore my system from the external hard drive with the backup when needed.  It's not very expensive (about $50 US), and it sure saves a lot of hassle when necessary.  I only use the likes of DBAN when refurbishing old PCs that have unknown history or before giving an old computer away, but when/if I need something to guarantee a hard drive has been thoroughly wiped clean, that's what I use.


Make regular full system backups or you'll be sorry sooner or later.


#13 aaandy

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 09:12 PM

Thanks everyone.

 

This is probably a dumb question, but I will wonder if I don't ask:

 

I have some viruses captured in my virus vaults (actually, I think they were false positives, but hey ho). I will DBAN kill those off too?

 

In short, will DBAN absolutely zap every single thing on my system? I need absolute irradiation...!

 

Andrew



#14 Havachat

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 01:03 AM

Dban will remove everything , as will MiniTool Partition Wizard also , its a WIPE ...so all is unretrievable , or just a Fresh Clean Drive.

 

If you still think it may also be some infection within Bios { I Doubt it } update that also , but i think the above will suffice to your needs - Eradication.






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