Formatting multiple hard drives

Posted on 2006-03-23
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Dear Experts,

I have a bunch of old windows 2000 machines I want to give to a charity.  I need to "nuke" the data off each machine though before I give them the machines.  I could take out the HD's but I would like to give them complete machines.  Would anyone have a good way with a floppy that I could reformat the drives?

Please include details.

Question by:ReginaldSMeyer
    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    Active KillDisk will securely wipe the drives:
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    You would basically create a bootable disc with the FDisk application on it to wipe those drives.

    Here is an article on FDisk, it's a common windows and Dos utility!

    For a boot image check out:

    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    There is software that can recover data even after an FDISK.

    killdisk will over write the entire drive with zeros and ones which will indeed kill any chance of data recovery.
    The paid version even meets Defence Department standards up to Top Secret.
    (That's because Top Secret requires physically destroying the discs.)

    I would think using the free version followed by running FDISK will have you covered well.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Drive Cleanser will securely delete all the data and partitions on a hard disk. It's extremely easy to use due to Windows wizard-driven interface.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    If i get you correctly you are looking to do this with a auto boot disk not to manually do each machine.
    Though i know that is a assumption. But that sounds like what you want to do.
    It seems also that you are not to worried about them trying to recover data from your wiped drives.
    As nearly anytype of wipe allows some sort of software to recover data.
    As it is a charity thing you are doing i dont think you have much of a problem with that issue.
    That all being said.
    Two ways to do such a thing well really more but Two off of the top of my head.

    Fdisk is a good tool and is usually already available to you.
    Fdisk allows you to delete the partitions.
    That being done is similar to doing a fdisk format. Which is your native way of doing it in a within windows environment. A windows software format really does not get rid of your data it its more like you looking through a window with a piece of plastic over the glass. You know something is out there but you cant really identify it.
    As a windows or dos environment does not allow you to view unformatted drives.
    So that is one way and fairly quick and easy.

    Another way is to actually format the drive it is a bit better then just wiping the partition but not by much.
    If someone was really set on retreiveing your data the almost surely could do so with a little trial and error with Free or open source software available.

    Here is a article about creating a floppy disk auto format setup.
    You may have to tinker with it a bit to get it to work the way you want but it seems to work.
    I have not tried this but it looks good from what i read.

    Also if you are really concerned about data retreival possibilities.
    Most HD mfg's offer disk utilities that will do this for you but you will have to do each machine.
    Most of these type utilities off a low level format option.
    Caution with low level format is always a concern. They really work the drive fairly hard for a long time which can lead to heat build up and possibly damage a HD. Though i have used low level on a fair amount of occasions and have had 100% success it is something to be concerned about.
    The only true way to clear a drive from data is to send it out to be disassembled and do a True MFG low level format.
    Basically only there can it truely be done. There low level format is quite different from any software you can buy and use for personal use.

    Anyways here is a link to that article useing a auto boot format floppy disk.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    I prefer Darik's Boot and Nuke - - it's 100% free and does what KillDisk does, including the DoD wipe which kill disk DOES NOT do for free.  It's linux based and it boots off a floppy or cdrom

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