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How do I completely wipe my PC clean?

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Last response: in Windows 7
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May 28, 2013 1:35:50 PM

I'm getting rid of this PC, and I want to totally format my PC and uninstall Windows (if that's possible). Microsoft said I can use the OS disc I used for the old PC on my new PC if I wiped my old one. These are home built PCs, not pre-built.

More about : completely wipe clean

a b $ Windows 7
May 28, 2013 1:41:06 PM

DBAN
Related resources
May 28, 2013 1:44:39 PM

Knightmare25 said:
I'm getting rid of this PC, and I want to totally format my PC and uninstall Windows (if that's possible). Microsoft said I can use the OS disc I used for the old PC on my new PC if I wiped my old one. These are home built PCs, not pre-built.


Depends if your selling the PC or not if your keeping it just remove all the Hardrives then you will have a spare if something goes wrong. If your selling it insert you windows install Cd and format the C drive you can format the rest of your HDDs though Disk management.
The Doctor
May 28, 2013 1:48:22 PM

The_Doctor said:
Knightmare25 said:
I'm getting rid of this PC, and I want to totally format my PC and uninstall Windows (if that's possible). Microsoft said I can use the OS disc I used for the old PC on my new PC if I wiped my old one. These are home built PCs, not pre-built.


Depends if your selling the PC or not if your keeping it just remove all the Hardrives then you will have a spare if something goes wrong. If your selling it insert you windows install Cd and format the C drive you can format the rest of your HDDs though Disk management.
The Doctor


I tried formatting through disk management, but when I tried to do it, format was grayed out.
May 28, 2013 1:49:29 PM

You can put in your installation cd/dvd and remove all partitions and reboot to be sure they are gone.
Best way to delete all info is to low level format. There are some tools around but you need to run them from cd/dvd.
Hirens boot cd has a few of those tools. Be sure to keep your Windows licence key. Windows will ask for that at installation.
And formatting a drive does not remove data permanently.
May 28, 2013 1:49:52 PM

Knightmare25 said:
The_Doctor said:
Knightmare25 said:
I'm getting rid of this PC, and I want to totally format my PC and uninstall Windows (if that's possible). Microsoft said I can use the OS disc I used for the old PC on my new PC if I wiped my old one. These are home built PCs, not pre-built.


Depends if your selling the PC or not if your keeping it just remove all the Hardrives then you will have a spare if something goes wrong. If your selling it insert you windows install Cd and format the C drive you can format the rest of your HDDs though Disk management.
The Doctor


I tried formatting through disk management, but when I tried to do it, format was grayed out.

The C drive only can be formatted by putting in the windows install CD and formatting over it.
If you turned the comp off after doing this windows wouldn't be installed.
The Doctor
May 28, 2013 1:52:09 PM

He was talking about using windows install to format the drive. That is an option.

Looks like S-delete would work with a boot disk. You would have to change the boot order in your Bios and boot from the DVD instead. Then run the program and delete the drive. Another option is if you have a second computer you can put the drive from the first computer in as an additional and format it that way (that's what I do)
May 28, 2013 1:53:23 PM

Just doing a format through windows disk management or reinstalling windows with the CD will not erase all traces of data. Like previous person mentioned, if the PC is leaving your posession (selling or otherwise), you'll want to do a complete disk wipe with something like DBAN or one of the three in the link provided. If not, all your data (browser history, financial docs, p0rn, etc) can be fairly easily retrieved.
a b $ Windows 7
May 28, 2013 1:55:21 PM

Knightmare25 said:


I tried formatting through disk management, but when I tried to do it, format was grayed out.


No.. it wont let you format your OS drive. So.. if you selling with an OS.. then for your main drive. do a clean install of windows.. when doing that.. use the option to format the drive first. That will pretty much wipe the disk.. and installing windows will overwrite and (unless you are FBI).. mean people cannot recover your data..but OS will prob not overwite much.. so much of disk will not be securely erased.

You can format any other drives..

If you want be extra secure.. you can use a tool like DBAN to wipe the disk before reinstalling windows..
And if you paranoid.. buy a new disk.. and replace your existing one.

You got plenty of options..

HTH
Cheers


May 28, 2013 1:55:40 PM

The_Doctor said:
Knightmare25 said:
The_Doctor said:
Knightmare25 said:
I'm getting rid of this PC, and I want to totally format my PC and uninstall Windows (if that's possible). Microsoft said I can use the OS disc I used for the old PC on my new PC if I wiped my old one. These are home built PCs, not pre-built.


Depends if your selling the PC or not if your keeping it just remove all the Hardrives then you will have a spare if something goes wrong. If your selling it insert you windows install Cd and format the C drive you can format the rest of your HDDs though Disk management.
The Doctor


I tried formatting through disk management, but when I tried to do it, format was grayed out.

The C drive only can be formatted by putting in the windows install CD and formatting over it.
If you turned the comp off after doing this windows wouldn't be installed.
The Doctor


At what point do I turn off the computer? Right now it says installing Windows. Wouldn't turning off the computer before it installs brick the PC?
May 28, 2013 1:59:19 PM

Some others (and me) already mentioned that formatting a drive does NOT delete all data. There a load of tools around that retrieve all data from a disk after a format.
May 28, 2013 2:01:49 PM

RandomTox said:
Some others (and me) already mentioned that formatting a drive does NOT delete all data. There a load of tools around that retrieve all data from a disk after a format.


I don't care much about the data. I never really did anything on the PC. I just want to make sure Windows is gone so I can use it on the new PC and not have to spend money on a new copy.
May 28, 2013 2:04:24 PM

then the easiest way is....start the installation cd.....and before you get to the point of formatting and select the drive to install....delete the partition(s) and reboot. Not only the easiest way but also the quickest.
a b $ Windows 7
May 28, 2013 2:07:29 PM

ss202sl said:
DBAN


This will get rid of windows and anything else on the drive.
May 28, 2013 2:20:32 PM

I go to the DBAN page and the first thing I see is "•No guarantee that data is removed"
I think a secure erase is better for what he wants.
May 28, 2013 2:55:38 PM

Supermuncher85 said:
ss202sl said:
DBAN


This will get rid of windows and anything else on the drive.


I just did DBAN, and nothing got erased. Windows is still there.
May 28, 2013 2:58:03 PM

Easiest way is....start the installation cd.....and before you get to the point of formatting and select the drive to install....delete the partition(s) and reboot. Not only the easiest way but also the quickest.
Might take a whole 3/4 minutes
a c 371 $ Windows 7
May 28, 2013 3:01:22 PM

How to Use DBAN to Securely Erase a Hard Disk Drive

Turn on computer and boot from the DBAN CD.
The DBAN application opens. DBAN is a simple, text-only application.
You will see a boot: prompt and a menu of options.
Press the Enter key to start DBAN in interactive mode.
DBAN continues to boot. This will take a few moments.
You will see a screen listing Options, Statistics, and Disks and Partitions.
Leave the defaults for Options.
From the Disks and Partitions list, select the hard drive you want deleted.
Move the cursor up and down using the J and K keys, and select the drive with the Spacebar.
When the drive you want to erase is selected, press F10 to start the wipe.
The time required to wipe your drive will depend on the size of the drive. DBAN offers an estimate on the Statistics pane.

http://www.it.cornell.edu/security/depth/practices/dban...
May 28, 2013 3:47:30 PM

SR-71 Blackbird said:
How to Use DBAN to Securely Erase a Hard Disk Drive

Turn on computer and boot from the DBAN CD.
The DBAN application opens. DBAN is a simple, text-only application.
You will see a boot: prompt and a menu of options.
Press the Enter key to start DBAN in interactive mode.
DBAN continues to boot. This will take a few moments.
You will see a screen listing Options, Statistics, and Disks and Partitions.
Leave the defaults for Options.
From the Disks and Partitions list, select the hard drive you want deleted.
Move the cursor up and down using the J and K keys, and select the drive with the Spacebar.
When the drive you want to erase is selected, press F10 to start the wipe.
The time required to wipe your drive will depend on the size of the drive. DBAN offers an estimate on the Statistics pane.

http://www.it.cornell.edu/security/depth/practices/dban...


7 hours to finish? Seems really long. I have a 1TB HDD.
a c 371 $ Windows 7
May 28, 2013 4:25:45 PM

Secure wipe is worth it.
May 28, 2013 6:36:11 PM

SR-71 Blackbird said:
Secure wipe is worth it.


I don't know what just happened. I have a black screen that says "failed command: WRITE FPDMA QUEUED"

Then at the bottom it says ata3: hard resetting link.
a b $ Windows 7
May 28, 2013 6:44:06 PM

Yes the reason it says it is no guaranteed is because the ONLY way to get rid of the data permanently for sure is to degauss.
May 29, 2013 4:32:53 AM

The only good way to erase data is with a low level format (also called zero fill) of the drive. Then the hard disk will be as it comes from the manufacturer. Most manufacturer from hard disks have such a tool.
But Knightmare25 said he did not really needed a full erase as long as his Windows was not going to work. If he just deleted his partition(s) he would be done in a few minutes.
!