How do I clean and format old drives and put them back in my system as new?

Posted on 2012-12-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-12-25
Windows 7 professional 64 bit
Gigabyte GA EX58-UD5
i7CPU 920@2.67Ghz 2.66 Ghz
Gskill Ripjaw f3-8500CL7S-4gbrl DDR3-1066 PC-8500 4gbx1 spd cl7-7-7-1 8 1.5v
24 gig ram 6x4
Nvidia Quadro FX4800

I pulled 5 hard drives out of this system and I plan to install a new hard drive with a fresh install of windows. How do I start fresh with these old drives? What should I check and how do I erase and format? I have a laptop and an external HD docking station.
Question by:artismobile
LVL 50

Assisted Solution

dbrunton earned 500 total points
ID: 38719660
Get the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/  Download links are the icons at the top of the page.

Get dban http://www.dban.org/

Use dban to wipe the drives completely.  Use the appropriate manufacturer's utils on the UBCD to do the long test on the hard drive.  If it passes that OK then install Windows on the disk concerned.

Assisted Solution

traoher earned 500 total points
ID: 38719669
If you just want to reuse the drive and assuming the drive is still functioning, you can just perform a standard format.  It will mark all sectors as unused and can be overwritten.

However, if you want to perform a complete wipe, then you can use other third party tool such that already mentioned above by dbrunton.
LVL 93

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 38719731
you don't need anything - all you want to do can be done from disk management when Windows is installed on the NEW drive
click start>righclick my Computer>select Manage
now select disk management in the left pane - all your connected disk will show up
you can right click each one, and format; or  if you want to remove the partitions, use the remove Volume option
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LVL 70

Accepted Solution

Gary Case earned 500 total points
ID: 38719737
A format does NOT rewrite the entire surface of the drive.    There are a variety of ways to really clean the drive -- from full forensic wipes (DBAN does a limited form of this)  to a simple format operation.

What I'd recommend is to simply install Western Digital's Data Lifeguard for Windows [http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=608&sid=3&lang=en ]; install it;  and then run it with all of your drives connected.

Then, one-at-a-time, highlight the drive you want to test/cleanup; do a "Write Zeroes" operation -- choosing to completely zero the drive (there's a "quick" choice that only writes zeroes to the initial sectors);  and after that completes (it will take several hours on a large drive) run both the Quick and Extended tests to confirm that the drive is good.

After you've done that, when you go to Windows' Disk Management you'll need to initialize the drive and create a data volume (do NOT convert them to dynamic drives -- a common error).

Note:  You can use your external docking station to do this if you'd like;  but connecting the drives internally will be quicker than using a USB docking station.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 38719966
if there was no virus suspected - no need to clean out the whole drive imo

Expert Comment

ID: 38719967
Best way for TEST and ERASE is HD tune. Google it.

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