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Old 02-09-2014, 04:51 PM   #1
bigapple48
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Ouch and Installing Linux OS First


Well, I apologize to all of you. I opened my eyes and saw the "Edit Options" under My LQ and successfully changed my time zone to the correct one. So, I will move on to another question and hope it isn't as foolish or dumb. I have a Dell Inspiron Desktop PC and am going to wipe my entire hard drive clean, due to how badly infected it is. Then, what I would like to do is wait on purchasing another copy of Windows 7 to install on it. Instead, I hope I can first install a Linux distro (not sure which one, yet) first. Or, even just run a "Live DVD" distro until I can buy an OEM copy of Windows 7. In the past, I kept on reading about how it was NOT the best choice or wise to have a dual-boot system on the same hd. Also, that Windows hated "seeing" a Linux OS already on the hd and that this significantly complicated being able to install the Windows OS! Is this true or exaggerated/false?
 
Old 02-09-2014, 05:16 PM   #2
TobiSGD
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There is no problem at all with dual-booting Windows and Linux from one HDD. The problem is that Windows likes to have the first partition on the HDD as its system/bootloader partition. There is no problem with installing Linux first, just create a partition for Windows at the beginning of the disk first, then use the free space on the end of the disk for your Linux installation. Keep in mind that Windows will overwrite the Linux bootloader when you install it, so keep a live-CD available to fix that after the installation.
 
2 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-14-2014, 08:16 PM   #3
bigapple48
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Smile Thanks To Members and DBAN Error Messages

First of all, a very sincere and BIG Thank You! to the following forum members who replied to my first Newbie thread about changing my time zone to the correct one: Habitual, Shadow77, koonru, and sg(?)osnell. If I misspelled any of your names, I apologize. I found the most helpful answer to come from the last member listed, since it was the most direct and simplest. Now, on to my second thread about Installing a Linux distro (Mint 16) and Windows 7 on the same hdd. Thank you so much, TobiSGD for your reply which I think I understand pretty well. I have a good .iso disc for Linux Mint 16 and have securely erased my entire C: drive on my 500GB WD SATA internal drive. However, when I ran DBAN for nearly 20 hours, here are the results I saw displayed exactly as they were listed:

DBAN succeeded.
All selected disks haved been wiped.
*ERROR /dev/sde (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdd (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdc (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdb (process crash).
pass ATA Disc WDC WD5003ABYX-0 01.0 465GB WD-WMAYP147851.

Why did DBAN crash on the four different disk drive partitions that it listed, but securely (?) erase the other 465GB out of the total 500GB of space? What do I do about these "non-fatal" error messages? Last, but most importantly, is there any way to delete these four different drive partitions and then wipe them all clean in one operation? At this point, I will only go back to Windows 7 if a gun is held to my head. All I want to do is properly address the error messages I've listed and then do a clean install of my preferrred Linux distro or distros. I noticed that when I looked at the different default folders in Mint 16, none of them were the drives/folders that the DBAN scan flagged. So, finally, is it wise or a good choice to just let the Mint 16 .iso disc automatically create the directories it wants to and then modify them to my preferences? Thanks again to all of you; I think you are all GREEEAAAATTT!!
 
Old 02-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #4
yancek
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I'm not familiar with DBAN so I'm not sure what output one would expect. From a Linux perspective, the error messages refer to four separate hard drives; sdb - sde. Devices such as hard drives in Linux are named sda, sdb, sdc, etc and partitions are numbered; sda1, sda2, etc.

I'm not sure which folders you are referring to as from my reading of your post, you haven't installed Mint yet so how would DBAN be looking at Mint files? on your DVD?

You have the option to format and create filesystems and partitions during the installation. Select the 'Something Else' option when you start the Mint install from your DVD or flash drive. This will be more informative for you and also give you more control over the installation.

I'm not really sure I've understood your situation
 
Old 02-14-2014, 11:32 PM   #5
bigapple48
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Unhappy Continuing DBAN Result Problems With Virtual Drives (?)

To yancek and other members, I need to try to clarify what problems I am still incredibly frustrated about after running DBAN - or the Darik's Boot and Nuke Linux drive eraser utility.Once again, here were the results, with the last pass out of 14 being the verification pass:

DBAN succeeded.
All selected disks haved been wiped.
*ERROR /dev/sde (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdd (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdc (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdb (process crash).
pass ATA Disc WDC WD5003ABYX-0 01.0 465GB WD-WMAYP147851.

First and most important problem is that this utility has limitations and the chief one seems to be generating error messages for devices such as the four virtual drives that it flagged with non-fatal errors, a router's Ethernet port connection, any USB flash drive plugged in at the time the scan runs, any other devices plugged into a USB port including printers, and more!! So, it only wiped the 465GB out of the total storage capacity of 500GB for my Western Digital SATA drive. I've tried for four hours now, using Linux's GParted tool on the .iso System Rescue CD that I burned, investigating alternative secure drive erasure programs, command line directory prompts, and more and this problem still remains. ALL I want to do is to install a Linux distro of my choice (maybe two at the most) and delete the four virtual drives on my hdd that are obviously taking up the additional 35GB of space on it. So, what do I do when both DBAN and GParted fail me? Go back to running only Windows 7 as my sole OS? Not unless somebody puts a gun to my head and threatens to shoot. Install a fresh copy of my preferred Linux distro first and deal with reinstalling Win 7 again and running a dual-boot system, which got me into this quagmire in the first place? Use a format command in some way as a command prompt to try and delete the empty drive (partitions) with? Just slap a Linux distro on the entire hdd and hope that wipes out the partitions I don't need? This has just gotten to be ridiculous and I see no end in sight. Might just wind up throwing my hdd out and replacing it or my whole PC. Good grief, this is so tiring and aggravating.
 
Old 02-14-2014, 11:56 PM   #6
rknichols
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The drive's actual capacity is undoubtedly about 500,000,000,000 bytes, which is 465.66*2^30 or roughly 465GiB. The drive has been completely wiped.

The question of why on Earth you are using a multi-pass wipe tool like DBAN on a drive that you are going to continue using yourself is the only big mystery here. Even a single overwrite with zeros is sufficient to hide your old pr0n collection from all but the most determined government agency willing to disassemble the drive and spend hundreds of man-hours with highly specialized equipment to pick remnants of bits off the platters.
 
Old 02-15-2014, 04:33 PM   #7
bigapple48
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Question Deleting "Old" Device Partitions Before Clean Install

Quote:
Originally Posted by rknichols View Post
The drive's actual capacity is undoubtedly about 500,000,000,000 bytes, which is 465.66*2^30 or roughly 465GiB. The drive has been completely wiped.

The question of why on Earth you are using a multi-pass wipe tool like DBAN on a drive that you are going to continue using yourself is the only big mystery here. Even a single overwrite with zeros is sufficient to hide your old pr0n collection from all but the most determined government agency willing to disassemble the drive and spend hundreds of man-hours with highly specialized equipment to pick remnants of bits off the platters.
Well, there are only two answers to the mystery I unknowingly and unintentionally caused some members to wonder about. First of all, as I stated earlier, my 500GB WD internal SATA drive has two operating system volumes on it. One was 144GB in size and used for Mint 12 and its files. The second one was 350GB in size and used for Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and its related files. I used DBAN even though all I was going to do was use the same hdd again because of infections that had become worse and worse to the point that I couldn't even operate my PC any more! Since I had no idea what Registry keys and or folders/files contained the bug(s), I (mistakenly?) thought that wiping the entire hdd or all of its space completely clean. DBAN seemed designed for that specific purpose to me. I didn't want to reinstall ANY OS on a corrupted hard disk, period.

After DBAN completed its operation, its report said it had "succeeded," but also displayed four error messages that I have seen described as "non-fatal" errors by a number of users. It had flagged four device ? as follows: *ERROR /dev/sde (process crash)". The remaining three error messages were exactly the same except for the last part continuing from /dev/sdd down to /dev/sdb. This is exactly where I became confused and uncertain. Why was it showing me this list of device partitions? Please know that I didn't know about just "zeroing out" the entire hard drive at that point!

Here is where I stand today. When I ran a "Live" Linux Mint 16 DVD and went into the Terminal Window, followed by the ls /dev/sd* command, I saw two lines of text listings with eight /dev paths shown. They were: /dev/sda, /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, /dev/sdd, /dev/sde, and /dev/sda5. So, what did all these device partitions mean (I'm a newbie after all, again) and was I wrong to do anything with them at all? Can I safely go ahead and just use a Linux or other distro "Live" CD/DVD disc or bootable USB Drive to install a Linux distro? Is either formatting the entire disk or using any terminal window command line delete prompt necessary before the Linux install? This is all I really want to know, since it does seem like I can't wrap my head around all the different device paths and partitions, yet.

Thank you all and I will close this thread ASAP.
 
Old 02-15-2014, 08:25 PM   #8
rknichols
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OK, I can see where desperation might drive you to that. It is sometimes hard to know which device is which. Things like card readers will show up as "sd" devices even when there is no card currently inserted, and the result of trying to read those will be an I/O error. I don't know what /dev/sda might be on that system, but it appears to have 5 partitions. If that "live CD" is actually a USB flash drive with a live CD image on it, it could be that.

One quick way to see what the OS is seeing on the system is to run "cat /proc/partitions". That will show the device name and size (in 1K blocks) for every real and virtual block device. Devices with no media won't show up. Usually the sizes give enough of a clue.

You can get more info on a particular device by running "hdparm -i /dev/sda", though that depends on the hdparm command being available on your live CD. It will show a dozen or so lines of information, beginning with the model name.

Don't worry too much about leftover information on the disk. When the new OS installation formats the partition, that old data is no longer available except with tools that examine the free space in the filesystem. There is some value in zeroing the partition first, though. If you ever lose the partition table or have to recover a deleted file, you won't be confused by remnants of the old drive contents. Also, if you ever want to save a compressed raw image of the drive or a partition, the zeroed free space compresses better. Unless privacy is a concern, those are about the only reasons for clearing a drive.
 
Old 02-15-2014, 11:38 PM   #9
bigapple48
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Still Don't Understand DBAN Results AND /dev/... Parameters

Quote:
Originally Posted by rknichols View Post
OK, I can see where desperation might drive you to that. It is sometimes hard to know which device is which. Things like card readers will show up as "sd" devices even when there is no card currently inserted, and the result of trying to read those will be an I/O error. I don't know what /dev/sda might be on that system, but it appears to have 5 partitions. If that "live CD" is actually a USB flash drive with a live CD image on it, it could be that.

One quick way to see what the OS is seeing on the system is to run "cat /proc/partitions". That will show the device name and size (in 1K blocks) for every real and virtual block device. Devices with no media won't show up. Usually the sizes give enough of a clue.

You can get more info on a particular device by running "hdparm -i /dev/sda", though that depends on the hdparm command being available on your live CD. It will show a dozen or so lines of information, beginning with the model name.

Don't worry too much about leftover information on the disk. When the new OS installation formats the partition, that old data is no longer available except with tools that examine the free space in the filesystem. There is some value in zeroing the partition first, though. If you ever lose the partition table or have to recover a deleted file, you won't be confused by remnants of the old drive contents. Also, if you ever want to save a compressed raw image of the drive or a partition, the zeroed free space compresses better. Unless privacy is a concern, those are about the only reasons for clearing a drive.
As you correctly said about a card reader causing DBAN or another diagnostic hdd tool to generate an error message, it happens. The harder and smarter I tried to work to delete any of the contents as well as the "virtual" device partition, the worse my continuing confusion and frustration quickly became! Now, all I want to do is install either one or two Linux distros on my single, internal hdd, in a VirtualBox environment. What I feel totally nuts about is that means getting into things like Linux paritions. How many should I create manually, or should I not do this and just blindly follow the distro's setup? Last but certainly not least, I have downloaded a Linux Mint 16 64-bit .iso file and burned it on to a DVD. What's my problem with this? Verifying the integrity of my downloaded file with either a md5 checksum or SHA-256 string. I've already tried installing the rhash utility from my .iso DVD and it worked once to verify an md5 checksum on a different distro download. The only reason it seems to have worked properly were that both the .iso file and the md5 checksum in a text document were in the same folder - the Download one.

All I want to do now is like I said above, verify the integrity of one or more .iso DVD discs with "rhash" or whatever terminal entries. Then, I can finally feel my anxiety and frustration end with only Linux installed on my Dell Desktop PC and NOT Windows 7 or 8! The example I tried to duplicate or follow on another site was the following. The article author said he/she downloaded Ubuntu 13.04 with the URL of: ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso. His/her second step to verify the .iso file's integrity before burning it on to a disc and using it in either a live mode or installing it, was to enter the following command in the Terminal Console: rhash --sha256 ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso, and hit Enter. If both files' hash tags match, then the .iso file is safe to use and not corrupted. Yet, when I looked at the terminal window that is displayed, there is NO "OK" verification message anywhere. I think I might as well give up now, before the next questions/problems arise and I decide to just take a hammer or crowbar to my PC. Meaning I have no idea how to "zero out" any part of a hdd and cannot even understand why my Live Mint 16 DVD works fine on every task except printing out at least some of the information making my eyes cross in print to study.
 
Old 02-16-2014, 12:35 AM   #10
rknichols
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What OS are you running when you try to use rhash? It's not clear whether you are checking the file before burning or checking the burned DVD. Note that checking the burned DVD is more difficult than checking the .iso file. This is because the physical DVD is padded with several of all-zero sectors at the end, and that affects the checksum. (The padding is added so that the kernel won't get an I/O error when trying to do read-ahead near the end of the volume.) Nonetheless, you should have received some output, assuming you allowed enough time for the full 1.2GB DVD to be read. Trying to run the rhash binary from Mint 16 on a different OS can be problematic due to subtle library incompatibilities. Doesn't your OS already have an sha256sum command installed?
 
Old 02-16-2014, 12:51 PM   #11
bigapple48
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DBAN "ERROR /dev Messages and SHA-256 Check

AFter doing a lot more research on DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke), I think I understand the following error messages a little better:

DBAN succeeded.
All selected disks haved been wiped.
*ERROR /dev/sde (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdd (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdc (process crash)
*ERROR /dev/sdb (process crash).
pass ATA Disc WDC WD5003ABYX-0 01.0 465GB WD-WMAYP147851.

What I was unaware of before using DBAN, was its "flaw" (?) in generating the same error messages it displayed for me if it detected ANY connected or plugged in devices that could even be "empty" - as in a card reader or a usb drive. Until now, part of my continuing confusion was that the error messages all concern one or more devices that are being detected during the scan. A device like a USB flash drive or card reader obviously can be both a device and a drive with its own partition, according to DBAN! To me, I will just leave the DBAN scan/operation alone and still hold to the belief that a drive is a specific kind of device - namely an internal or external hdd/dvd +/- player. Since DBAN said my WD SATA Drive passed, I will close this topic and go on to another question or two. Thanks again to all of you who took the time and care to reply to me.

There are two ways I can choose to verify the integrity of an .iso disc that I have burned. One is to use is the SHA-256 verification method and the other is the MD5 verification sum. Of course, I can also use both processes if I am feeling extra cautious or paranoid. Well, I have excellent quality discs to burn my Linux .iso (distro) images to. All I would like to know is what programs that use the specific checksums I have mentioned to verify the integrity of an .iso image/disc you would recommend? I know that there is a program called "rhash" that I was able to use the Terminal Console with my "Live" DVD Mint disc to install. My problem was I just couldn't figure out how to generate an output showing both checksums and any confirmation that the two matched like the "OK" you usually see with the MD5 checksum if everything went fine. I know there are other simple, small, and accurate programs I could download and install, but am looking for specific names and actual command line entries to use.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend that any user NOT use DBAN to securely erase their hard disk drive or drives. There are third-party, paid versions of disk wipe/erase programs that don't cost that much and are much less of a hassle than DBAN. Unless you are a massochist and like doing things like literally unplugging additonal disk drives, card readers, and God only knows what other devices/ports. For a simple operation, that's waaayyyy too much trouble for this person. Oh, and I almost forgot. DBAN has even put some users in the position where they had to change their BIOS settings, too. If they even could.
 
Old 02-16-2014, 06:11 PM   #12
rknichols
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FWIW, DBAN can be quite reasonable. If you just press <ENTER> at the first prompt after boot, it runs in interactive mode. You are presented with a list of devices with good descriptions (e.g., "ATA Disk KINGSTON SH103S2 501A 111GB" plus its serial number), and can select which device(s) you want to clear, the method ("Quick Erase" is one of the options), whether to verify the result, the number of rounds, etc. The one thing I really don't like about it (version 2.2.8, at least) is that there is no option to exit without doing anything. That can mean that a forced power-down is the only way out.

Usually when you are doing checksum verification, you are generating a sum and comparing it with one that was published on the site from which you downloaded the ISO. I've never tried rhash (It's included in Debian Linux and its derivatives -- I'm more of a Red Hat guy), but for the md5sum, sha256sum programs and the like, you can put as many file names as you like on the command line and they will generate a sum for each. If you go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/rhash/, you will see a screenshot of using rhash to generate a checksum and also to verify a checksum that has been stored in a file. (The screenshot is for RHash on Windows, but I strongly suspect it is just the same on Linux.)

But, to reiterate what I said earlier, if you run
Code:
rhash --sha256 ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso
rhash --sha256 /dev/cdrom
the results will not match. That is because of the padding on the CD/DVD. When you actually boot one of those installers, the boot menu typically include an option to verify the media. You should use that instead.
 
  


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