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Fresh Start

Posted on 2001-09-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have a 133mhz pentium desktop and was wondering if there is any way of removing all software so that the system can start afresh with no traces of anything previously installed.
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Question by:ZEn
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jhance earned 200 total points
ID: 6487547
Sure, but be sure you can boot from a diskette and have your CDROM drivers going to facilitate a reload of your operating system (whatever that is).

Boot from a floppy and format your hard drive and then start a new OS install.

That will do it....
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by:slink9
ID: 6487607
If you want a more secure restart you can boot from floppy (as already mentioned) and do an FDISK, delete and recreate partition, and then do the Format c: /s and reinstall everything.
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by:jhance
ID: 6487628
There is no added security from FDISK.  If you are concerned about security, run a Low Level Formatter (LLF) utility that will rewrite every sector on the disk.  Your hard disk manufacturer will have one of these available on their support web site.  If you want higher security (like to try to hide data from the CIA or something) you need to go to extreme measures and use a SECURE DATA ERASE utility.  Here, the data is overwritten multiple times with patterns that hinder the recovery of data by extraordinary means.  But even this can often be defeated by those with special tools and techniques and lots of money.

If you REALLY want the data to be non-recovereable, you must completely destroy the media.  The best way for the average person would be to disassemble the drive, remove the disk platters, and grind away the surfaces of the platters with a belt sander or body grinder.
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by:slink9
ID: 6487665
I guess I used the wrong terminology.  It is a cleaner format.  If I start fresh I always start with removal of the partition.  If you do a low level format you may be able to recover some of the sectors marked bad by the previous format.  Either way, a fresh start is a rather simple procedure.
If you don't have a boot disk you can get it from www.bootdisk.com.  You may need to make sure boot from floppy is enabled in the BIOS.  Boot from the floppy and either start with removing the partition or a FORMAT (your choice).  A generic boot disk will enable your CDRom and all you will need to do after formatting and rebooting again is:
D:
setup
and follow the prompts to get your OS reinstalled.  If you are installing an OS previous to 98 it may not be as simple.
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by:escheider
ID: 6488402
haha, I like the belt sander idea. :>
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by:magarity
ID: 6488425
"REALLY want the data to be non-recovereable, you must completely destroy the media"

A more cost-effective way is to get one of the handy programs that write random data over the entire drive at least 7 times.  After that, echoes of previous writes have faded to unreadability.
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by:pbessman
ID: 6489805
"The best way for the average person would be to disassemble the drive, remove the disk platters, and grind away the surfaces of the platters with a belt sander or body grinder."  Man, I am so tempted to say something that would likely offend everyone.  If they are the glass disks that can really cause damage.  Who actually still uses glass disks?

For the most part doing what has been suggested should work.  If you write zeroes to your hard drive who would spend the money to try and recover what you had on it?  If you just want to make sure you have removed everything that may have ever caused a problem you can Low level Format using the drive manufacturers installation disk.

Can I ask what happened?  Do you just want to start from scratch, or are you having some really bad problems?
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by:VirusMinus
ID: 7898356
Dear questionner/expert(s)

No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I'll leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is to be:

 - Answered by: jhance

Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.

==> PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER ! <==

VirusMinus
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by:Netminder
ID: 7961304
Per recommendation, force-accepted.

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