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Pingu4 03-20-2013 05:09 AM

Erasing HDD - advice needed
Hi all

I've been using Linux for less than a year and I'm still a relative newbie. Currently I've got Lubuntu installed but since the latest upgrade it crashes quite often. Also as I was 'experimenting' I've probably downloaded too much stuff and not always good :(

In short I want to erase my HDD completely and start afresh - I'd be very grateful if I could get answers to a few questions:

1) Will the 'shred' command erase the disc securely and fully? Or what other commands/programmes are there?

2) If not, how about this option: install Windows XP and then use something like 'KillDisc' to erase HDD? I've done it before and I know it works.

3) If I've erased my HDD before, will it damage/ destroy HDD to do it again?

Thanking you in advance.

pan64 03-20-2013 05:22 AM

3. erasing the content of the drive usually safe, will not damage the device.
2. you can safely install anything without erasing the whole drive, you only need to remove the partition table.
1. Instead of shred I suggest you to use dd (to erase disk) and you can use fdisk to remove partitions.

Pingu4 03-20-2013 06:16 AM

Thank you, pan 64.

chrism01 03-20-2013 07:32 AM

Also, if you just want to install a new OS, go ahead and do so, the install process will overwrite the old stuff; no need to erase.

Pingu4 03-20-2013 07:53 AM

Thank you chrism01

taylorkh 03-20-2013 12:36 PM

Agreed. To simply reinstall the OS it is not necessary to wipe the hard drive. However, if you need to wipe a drive for some other reason such as before disposing of an old PC, have a look at DBAN It will do the job. BE CAREFUL.


Pingu4 03-20-2013 04:08 PM

Thanks, taylorkh.
I've looked at DBAN and frankly, I've got my doubts about using it. It might do the job but, as you said, it looks like Id have to be very careful and I'm not sure if I can use it without doing some irreversible damage to HDD :(

273 03-20-2013 06:56 PM

Apart from the wear caused by writing to it something like DBAN pose no threat at all to your disk.
Also, there is no need to "clean" your disk unless you feel that you managed to leave some secrets on it worth a few thousand dollars. Especially if you you are keeping the disk to install something else on.
If you are that paranoid then, when your disk dies, smash it to pieces but until then it's just a rewriteable medium.

ozar 03-20-2013 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by Pingu4 (Post 4915019)
If I've erased my HDD before, will it damage/ destroy HDD to do it again?


I've erased many hard disks over the years literally hundreds of times and have never damaged any of them by doing so. Of course there will be any natural wear and tear associated with with such chores on a mechanical device.

sundialsvcs 03-20-2013 09:58 PM

Certain devices (SCSI) do have a "Data Security Erase" command that can be issued to cause the drive to erase itself.

Pingu4 03-21-2013 03:04 AM

Thank you all very much.

I think I now know enough to do what I need, so I'm going to mark this thread as 'solved'.

All your help is greatly appreciated, thank you.

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