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-   -   Newbie here. I need to wipe my hard drive (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/newbie-here-i-need-to-wipe-my-hard-drive-829476/)

Sagadeon 08-31-2010 06:07 AM

Newbie here. I need to wipe my hard drive
 
I have an ASUS EEE 900A. I bought it online from a distributor in California. It was supposed to come with XP instead, it has Linux. I'm getting used to Linux and like it alot.

The problem is, at one point, I did have XP installed but, I didn't like the way it ran after that so, I reinstalled Linux. Now my hard drive has about 10% capacity left, leaving me with no antivirus and not enough hard drive space left to do anything else. I get updates like crazy (software version, I think, is from 2006-2008) but, I wouldn't have enough space to install critical updates if I wanted to.

Can someone please help me wipe my hard drive clean? I'm going crazy trying to figure it out and Tech Support is of no help at all!

Thanx in Advance,

Saga

Larry Webb 08-31-2010 06:16 AM

Do you want to install a new operating system or clean up the one you have now? If you want to install a new system just insert the cd/dvd and it should format the drive for you if you use the default install.

angel115 08-31-2010 06:18 AM

If you want to erase all the data on your HD you will first need to boot from a live CD (ubuntu live CD for example)

Then you can use gparted or fdisk to erase all your partition

or if you want to erase it securely
Note that the following will take a lot of time (up to few hours) and will give you no output
Code:

dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/hda bs=1M
(or sda if it's a sata HD)

Best regards,
Angel

djsmiley2k 08-31-2010 06:28 AM

For wiping purposes, wouldn't /dev/null be better for the dd?

linuxlover.chaitanya 08-31-2010 06:30 AM

Cleaning the hard drive will not solve your problem for your disk space and updates. Do you know what distribution you are onto? Can you tell what is the hardware configuration of your system?
You could clean your drive you really wanted to using Live CD distribution like Ubuntu or Parted Magic.
But could you tell what your issue so that members might help you out with proper solution.

djsmiley2k 08-31-2010 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djsmiley2k (Post 4083341)
For wiping purposes, wouldn't /dev/null be better for the dd?

Urgh, Brain fart. I mean /dev/urandom

angel115 08-31-2010 07:00 AM

Hi Sagadeon,

Here is what you can do to check where all your space has been use
run the du as root
Code:

df -h
du -sh /*

if you use a Debian like distribution (like ubuntu), you can run this
Code:

apt-get clean

angel115 08-31-2010 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djsmiley2k (Post 4083349)
Urgh, Brain fart. I mean /dev/urandom

FYI: /dev/urandom is the same as /dev/random but in a less secure way.

I guess you wanted to say /dev/zero which would write only 0 bits on the whole drive and would be faster than random.

But anyway, all this is out of topic from this post I guess.

Angel

vandamme 08-31-2010 07:42 AM

Hmmm, you have a 4 GB solid state hard drive? That might not be enough for both Linux and XP, ya think?? What I'd do is backup all your documents, go through the install once again. Download the latest version of Ubuntu (if that's what you like). I kinda like LinuxMint, which is Ubuntu with a few extras thrown in (not wanting to start a war here). When you boot from the install disk, if you still have XP on there, Ubuntu detects it and you get to a screen that asks you whether you want to erase the whole disk or dual-boot XP and Linux. Just select "use the whole disk" and your troubles will be over in a few minutes. Don't worry about anti-virus because you're getting rid of the Microsoft Virus Delivery Client, AKA Windows XP.

MTK358 08-31-2010 07:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sagadeon (Post 4083327)
I have an ASUS EEE 900A. I bought it online from a distributor in California. It was supposed to come with XP instead, it has Linux. I'm getting used to Linux and like it alot.

The problem is, at one point, I did have XP installed but, I didn't like the way it ran after that so, I reinstalled Linux. Now my hard drive has about 10% capacity left, leaving me with no antivirus and not enough hard drive space left to do anything else. I get updates like crazy (software version, I think, is from 2006-2008) but, I wouldn't have enough space to install critical updates if I wanted to.

Can someone please help me wipe my hard drive clean? I'm going crazy trying to figure it out and Tech Support is of no help at all!

Thanx in Advance,

Saga

Generally, Linux doesn't need antivirus. The main purpose of Linux antivirus is to catch files infected with Windows viruses from being transferred to Widnows machines. Linux can't be infected by Windows viruses because as a different OS, it just doesn't understand Windows .exe files.

And are you sure you don't want to try learning Linux? If you do, start here:

http://linux.about.com/od/linux101/u/userpathI.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU/Linux_distribution

vandamme 08-31-2010 07:49 AM

<smacks head> Your notebook probably came with eeebuntu, now named Aurora. But the latest Aurora is based on ubuntu 9, so maybe you want to try Ubuntu Netbook edition.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Netbook_Remix

angel115 08-31-2010 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MTK358 (Post 4083410)
Generally, Linux doesn't need antivirus. The main purpose of Linux antivirus is to catch files infected with Windows viruses from being transferred to Widnows machines. Linux can't be infected by Windows viruses because as a different OS, it just doesn't understand Windows .exe files.

And are you sure you don't want to try learning Linux? If you do, start here:

http://linux.about.com/od/linux101/u/userpathI.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU/Linux_distribution

Rute http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz is good starting point too ;)

MTK358 08-31-2010 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by angel115 (Post 4083416)
Rute http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz is good starting point too ;)

But it might scare off people new to Linux who are used to point-and-click, are literally afraid of the command line, and avoid reading manuals. :)

suprstar 08-31-2010 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by angel115 (Post 4083378)
FYI: /dev/urandom is the same as /dev/random but in a less secure way.

I guess you wanted to say /dev/zero which would write only 0 bits on the whole drive and would be faster than random.

But anyway, all this is out of topic from this post I guess.

Angel

I thought the BEST way was to overwrite your drive with random bits several times. You can write all 0's to your drive, but:

The magnetic strength of a bit on a hard drive can be measured, and it's supposed to be within certain tolerances. Lets say I have a byte 11001100 written to the disk. The actual measurements of these strengths could be

.98 .95 .03 .04 .96 .93 .06 .02.

If you start with 11001100, and write all zero's over it, the bits that used to be 1's will be measurably higher than the ones that used to be zero, so you'd end up with something like

.06 .07 .01 .01 .05 .07 .02 .00 - and you could derive that the data used to be 11001100. There IS equipment out there that can detect and analyze this! This would probably keep your wife from recovering your porn stash... But if higher security is required:

By overwriting it with random data multiple times, every bit can get flipped back and forth, so you can't tell if a particular bit was re-written with 0 3x in a row, or if it really WAS zero. Or if that .06 is .06 because the data WAS a 1 and re-written with a zero, or if the random writes to that bit ended with a 1 then a zero.

Multiple random re-writes is industry standard for sensitive data, at least it's the policy in any IT section I've ever worked in. The NSA, FBI, CIA, or anyone on this board couldn't recover data cleaned with this method.

http://www.dban.org/ - dban is a linux boot disk that will rewrite random data over ALL drives it can detect, it's what we use to clean old workstations before we junk em.

angel115 08-31-2010 10:31 AM

Although I knew that already, thanks for the reminder
Order of secure wiping from the weakest to the strongest method:
/dev/zero
/dev/urandom
/dev/random
/dev/random (7 times, or more. The more pass you do, the safer it will be)
Physical destruction

But as I say this is off topic...


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