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How can I clean my hard disk?

Posted on 2003-11-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26

I would like to remove all data from my hard disk ( not only with "format c:").
I look for a solution, that sets my hard disk to industy new(So as i would buy a new one)  [ Sorry but I have no other expression for this (I am german)].

What about "Format c: fdisk/mbr" ? Is that right ?                        

Thanks for advance!

Question by:ChristopH1987
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Expert Comment

ID: 9703893
You can always low level format... but that's scary... you might lose some vital info! I would just do the good old OS level format and be safe.
LVL 97

Assisted Solution

war1 earned 120 total points
ID: 9703903
Greetings, ChristopH1987!

You need a third party tool to earse the data. Look at the section under Data Dump

Best wishes, war1

Accepted Solution

proziath earned 600 total points
ID: 9703966
fdisk is the strongest tool you have for cleaning your hard disk compared to format.  This tool can delete partitions (areas on your hard disk that store information) and thus delete the information stored there. When you run FDISK from the command prompt, you will get a menu from which you will delete information from your hard disk.

Whatever you delete, you cannot get it back.

Fdisk has a menu from which you choose your options.
There is a good site that displays the options you can see. It is found here.

You have to be absolutely sure you want to delete the partitions otherwise in doing so you will not be able to retrieve data that has been deleted.

An easier tool that also deletes partitions is called delpart.

You can get it from here:

Please be careful and delete the correct partition.

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Restore full virtual machine or individual guest files from 19 common file systems directly from the backup file. Schedule VM backups with PowerShell scripts. Set desired time, lean back and let the script to notify you via email upon completion.  


Assisted Solution

Robing66066 earned 280 total points
ID: 9704057
You can use a freeware utility from IBM called  It write a 'zero' to each sector of your hard drive.

Find it here:

You'll need to boot to DOS to do it.  Find one here:

or follow the instructions found here:

(The DOS bootdisk doesn't work, but you can download the Windows 95 disk and it will work fine.)

Here's what you do.

1.  Download both files.
2.  Create your boot floppy disk as per the instructions
3.  Copy the file to the boot disk.  (Or another floppy if it won't fit)
4.  Run and select the number of the fixed disk you want to erase.  (Usually 0)

That will get it done.  Depending on the size of the disk it may take quite a while.  Good luck!
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 9704075
If you want to really erase stuff on your hard drive

15-day trial



Expert Comment

ID: 9704158
If you are wanting to completely erase all data beyond recovery then you need to do more than just use the FDISK utility or FORMAT as data can quite easily be rescued after using just these with recovery software.  You need software that overwrites the data on the disk, the higher the nuber of "passes" of data overwrite the higher the security. The data is overwriten in Hex/ASCII code.  I have used this one before - and thought it was OK.  A drive degausser can also be used to erase a drive, this is sometimes all that is required in the UK for government second user equipment. It's worth noting that the only way to be completely sure that sensitive data is not recovered is to physically destroy the drive!

Wenn Sie vollständig wollen, alle Daten über hinaus Rückgewinnung zu löschen, dann müssen Sie mehr als nur die FDISK Nützlichkeit oder FORMAT machen benutzt, als daten ziemlich leicht nach Benutzen nur diese mit Rückgewinnung Software gerettet werden kann. Sie brauchen Software, die die Daten auf der Scheibe überschreibt, das höher der nuber der "Ausweise" von Daten das höher die Sicherheit überschreibt. Die Daten sind in SECHSKANT/ASCII Code überschrieben. Ich habe diesen vor benutzt Und gedacht hat, daß es GUT war. Ein Antriebsdegausser kann auch benutzt werden, einen Antrieb, dies ist manchmal allie zu löschen, die im Vereinigten Königreich für Regierung zweiter Verbraucher Ausrüstungen erfordert sind. Es ist wert Merken das der einzige Weg zu sein vollständig sicher, daß empfindliche Daten physisch nicht wiedererlangt sind, den Antrieb soll zerstören!


Expert Comment

ID: 9704329
I know this sounds a little low-tech,  but if you pass a strong Magnet along-side the drive it should be enough to wipe it clean.   Used to work with floppies, never tried with a HDD before though.   Unsure of whether that method would cause any damage.  

I believe Norton Disk Utilities includes a wipe tool that overwrites sectors with 0's up to a maximum of 7 times per sector.  

If it were ME,  I'd take a baseball bat to it.   Smashy smashy.

I assume that you are trying to clear it out to give away, a used sale, or for secure disposal.  If you are trying to make it 'appear' new so that you can sell it as new.  That is a crime my friend.  


Expert Comment

ID: 9704505
The magnet/degausser method is pretty hard core and not recommended for drives you wish to re-use in the future.  Many drives have protected areas on one or more platters which is part of what is called the "servo" where esential information about the drives operation are stored.  If the "servo" information is compromised it is possible that the drive will cease to function properly.  Info in these areas include time of operation, some bad spot mapping info, sector relocation info, etc.

Just buy, borrow, or demo a good disk scrubbing utility.  If you go the demo route you could try several on the same disk, then let us know which one you think works the best.

Good Luck.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9704636
This is the best one I could find, and even better: It's FREE!!

LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9705576

If the drives are to be reused, the Department of Defense requires overwriting every sector with a pattern, and then its complement, and finally with another pattern (e.g., overwrite first with "00110101", followed by "11001010", then "10010111").  Sanitization is not complete until all six passes of the three cycles are completed.

If they are not to be reused they like degaussing a hard drive with enough magnetic energy to erase the platters. This will pretty well render it as inoperable as an acetelyne torch, not to mention your watch and cash station card. Degaussing hard drives often destroys the drive's timing tracks and servo motors, and usually demagnetizes the permanent magnets of the spindle motor. Degaussers used on DoD hard drives must have a nominal rating of at least 1700 Oersted. Handheld units that will handle floppies and 4mm tape usually run about a third that power.

The NSA shreds their drives, apparently they have more to hide.

BCWipe, PGP, Ontrack and others offer disk wipe tools.


Author Comment

ID: 9706279
Thanks all!

I will look for your tools... But I have another problem... I use a laptop without a floppy disk drive; so i have to copy all tools to a CD and first start windows 98 CD and then the tools from the other disk... Its a little bit confusing! Does somebody know how I can create a start CD instead of a start floppy disk?

Thanks for Advance....
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 9706300
You can use another computer wich has both: a cd-writer and a floppy drive. Create the bootdisk on that computer.

Then use Nero-burning-rom to create a bootable cd-rom pointing towards the fresh made bootdisk.


p.s. the link I gave also has bootable cd-rom images.  

Expert Comment

ID: 9712839
What is u HDD brand??
GO to the homepage and try to look for it software.
Used it to did a low level format.

Author Comment

ID: 9747734
Thanks all!

FDISK does it!

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