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Reformat problem......please help!!!!!

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October 16, 2006 2:09:38 AM

This post could also be placed in the HD forum but since it ends up being, what I believe is, a MOBO issue I decided to post it here.

I'm in a little bit of a bind and I hope you guys can help.

My situation:

I'm in the process of selling my old PC and want to reformat the drive to wipe the data before I sell it.

My problem:

1- I place the XP OS disk in the DVD rom drive and start the PC.

2- At the initial boot up screen (BIOS info, MOBO type, MOBO driver version, etc) my Saitek USB keyboard has power and I can enter the BIOS by pressing delete if I choose to do so.

3- Once the initial screen winks off so does the power to my USB keyboard.

4- The second boot up screen comes up and at the bottom it says to "Press any key to boot from CD" which as you all know is how to begin the reformat process. The problem is that I still don't have any power on my USB keyboard so I when I try to push "any key" nothing happens and it continues to boot up to the desk top.

5-During the ensuing boot up process (after the "Press any key to boot from CD" screen disappears) the power to my keyboard is restored and it boots up just fine.

6- At this point I decided to bypass the whole "no power on the USB ports" issue and plug in an old PS2 keyboard. Unfortunately, the PS2 keyboard port appeared to be dead. I went and bought a brand new PS2 keyboard and it would not work either.

The big question:

Is there a way to keep the power to the USB ports on through the entire boot up sequence?

If not, it would appear that I'm going to have to spring for a new MOBO before I sell it, or try to manually wipe the data, which is not a good option IMO.

Any help would be truly be appreciated!!

More about : reformat problem

a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2006 5:15:22 PM

Quote:
At the initial boot up screen (BIOS info, MOBO type, MOBO driver version, etc) my Saitek USB keyboard has power and I can enter the BIOS by pressing delete if I choose to do so.



According to your statement you can enter the CMOS OK, check to make sure the USB Keyboard access is enabled, you may also want to check if the PS2 ports have been disabled, save the changes and exit CMOS if the keyboard functions in the CMOS to allow you to do that.

If the USB keyboard will not function in the CMOS, then some CMOS settings could be whats causing the problem and clearing the CMOS settings [usually done by the Clear CMOS jumper on the M/B itself], would take you to default settings effectively re-enabling the PS2 ports if they've been disabled, which would mean having to use the PS2 keyboard.



Adding to what the guys have posted below, most HDD manufacturers have diagnostic disks downloadable from their websites for their particular brand HDD, that will do what is commonly called a LLF, but is actually a Zero Fill or disk wipe feature in their diagnostic programs, these programs wipe boot sector and all.

You can also do a Google search for a program called Eraser 5.6, which will allow you to create a "Nuke Boot Disk" floppy from inside the Windows OP/SYS, which when booted from, will completely wipe your HDD with whatever level you want to wipe it including DOD, [Department of Defense] levels of multipass wiping.

I didn't mention that in the beginning because getting your keyboard operational seemed first priority to me, Sorry!
October 16, 2006 5:45:52 PM

Quote:

I'm in the process of selling my old PC and want to reformat the drive to wipe the data before I sell it.

....

If not, it would appear that I'm going to have to spring for a new MOBO before I sell it, or try to manually wipe the data, which is not a good option IMO.

Any help would be truly be appreciated!!


A format does not clear the data. It can STILL BE RECOEVERED!!

You need to erase the disk before you re-install the OS.

Sorry I cant suggest a tool to use but I'm on linux.

As for getting to boot from the CD the comments above seem very good to me. Rather than a new MB a $2 usb/ps2 adaptor would also solve the problem.
Related resources
October 16, 2006 6:26:08 PM

Correct. Formatting a drive does not remove the data at all. It can be seen by anyone who knows what they are doing (not hard). What you want to do is create a Dos boot disk then boot into dos and run
" a:\format c: "


Do this 2 or 3 times. This is not the best method though, but it is more reliable then windows formating tool. Your second option is finding a freewere program that will do a lowlevel write to the drive...basicly putting 0's and 1's on the entire HDD.


As for using USB devices in dos, you are looking for the option inside the BIOS called USB legacy support. Turn it on and your good to go.
October 16, 2006 6:34:54 PM

Quote:

Do this 2 or 3 times. This is not the best method though, but it is more reliable then windows formating tool. Your second option is finding a freewere program that will do a lowlevel write to the drive...basicly putting 0's and 1's on the entire HDD.


Emphasis mine..

Multiple formats are not much better than a single one...

*EDIT* Removed the link I gave here as it was a dud article. The link I give further down is much more apropriate.
October 16, 2006 6:42:32 PM

Good to mention. Linux boot disks are helpfull too. In most cases they are a complete OS on a bootable disk, with pletny of tools to do anything.
Knowledge of Linux is not really needed these days either as linux is striving become just like microsoft.





Quote:
Knowledge of Linux is not really needed these days either as linux is striving become just like microsoft.


BURN.
October 16, 2006 6:52:33 PM

Right.. got a MUCH better answer... Knew I'd seen something before.

dban

Boot and Nuke :D 

Have a look.. I think this is EXACTLY what you want to erase that drive. And very easy to use.. once you can boot from CD :?
October 16, 2006 7:00:48 PM

I recommend not selling your HDD at all, unless you really have too. Most people probably wouldn't be able to recover information off of it, but on the slight chance they do, is it worth the lifetime of trouble it will cause?

If you do end up selling it, you should follow all of the examples above. You could even do an easy way by just formatting the drive, copying large amounts of media information on it (movies work), deleting it, and re-doing... The US government requires 7 wipes like this, and even then, NSA boys will still be able to extract whatever they want from the HDD's (I don't even want to know how they do that)
October 16, 2006 7:07:29 PM

The program I have at work can recover most data from up to 4 reformats. The government can use electron scanning guns to recover data from destroyed magnetic media. They also use very large computers to recover data that has been securly wiped. They do this by reading the data still availible, then calculating what might be the missing data... and fills in the holes, eventualy rebuilding the entire HDD's content.


If you want to prevent your data from ever being seen again....
1.) Format drive in FAT16
2.) encrypt entire HDD.
3.) Format drive in FAT32
4.) compress drive
5.) format drive in NTFS
6.) Write 1/0's to entire drive and encrypt using 2000bit encryption.
7.) format again in FAT16
8.) Optional: Degauss it afterwards.

Can your data be recovered by the government? No. Are you worth the trouble of trying... not in your life.
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2006 7:08:56 PM

You can try going to the manufacturer of your hdd's website. Such as Western Digital, and download a zero write utility. I think DataGuard from Western Digitla should do this on any brand of drive. If you feel more comfortable using something made by the actual manufacturer of your drive, most have this sort of utility. Seagate has there SeaGate Tools. Usually they have a bootable floppy option or ISO that you boot from and then do the zero blanking from there. It works on a very low level (below OS) and write zero's. Most utilities have more than one blanking option. A complete blank, which takes a very long time depending on the size of the drive, or a quick blank which writes zeros to random sectors of the drive. The quick blank is usually enough, unless you think the person getting it is going to take it to a professional data recovery company to extract whatever can be salvaged.

Hope this helps.
October 16, 2006 7:17:07 PM

yeah, I totally agree with vern above me, its still not worth the potential risk. At most, you sell a old HDD for 20 bones, and if it has a decent storage capacity, then why not use it?

I could have worked at the NSA, but I wanted a job where I could advance in life, not advance into other people's lives...
October 16, 2006 7:17:33 PM

Quote:
You can try going to the manufacturer of your hdd's website. Such as Western Digital, and download a zero write utility. I think DataGuard from Western Digitla should do this on any brand of drive. If you feel more comfortable using something made by the actual manufacturer of your drive, most have this sort of utility. Seagate has there SeaGate Tools. Usually they have a bootable floppy option or ISO that you boot from and then do the zero blanking from there. It works on a very low level (below OS) and write zero's. Most utilities have more than one blanking option. A complete blank, which takes a very long time depending on the size of the drive, or a quick blank which writes zeros to random sectors of the drive. The quick blank is usually enough, unless you think the person getting it is going to take it to a professional data recovery company to extract whatever can be salvaged.

Hope this helps.


You can also download and burn the ultimate boot cd:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

It contains diagnostic programs, etc from every major HDD manufacturer, and usually they have a zero-fill (aka low level format) utility. If you want your data to be absolutely gone, use a zero-fill or low level format (as techgeek said). It sure saves the time of doing the 7 formats or whatever.

A low-level pretty much returns it to a condition that is almost the same as if the drive came off the assembly line. (Except for the wear and tear, of course).
October 16, 2006 7:29:46 PM

Quote:
A low-level pretty much returns it to a condition that is almost the same as if the drive came off the assembly line. (Except for the wear and tear, of course).


A low level is not as secure as they would have you believe. Multiple passes with truely random data is the only non destructive way of really erasing it. The link I provided is automated once you set it off you just leave it running.

I agree with your recomendation of Ultimate Boot CD - a great collection of tools.
October 16, 2006 7:42:24 PM

No its not. The program I use at job 1# can recover data after many reformats. This includes low lvl formatting, and usage after the format (i.e adding and removing data). I have a second program which I can tell you about.. called Get Data Back, which does a good job of this too.
October 16, 2006 7:55:34 PM

Go into your BIOS and enable USB Keyboard support (Usually located in INTEGRATED PERIPHERALS). This will let you use a USB keyboard without the OS having to run and use drivers.
October 16, 2006 7:56:44 PM

Thanks for all of the tips!!!

I'll try the ideas that you guys came up with tonight.

A buddy of mine said to put the OS disk into the DVD-rom drive and double click on it after the PC boots up. He said that this should allow me to do the reformat and avoid the power problem with the USB keyboard. Any thoughts on this????

I had heard that just reformatting wouldn't erase all of the data so I signed up for the 30 day free trial of DiskScrub2 after seeing the retail version of it at CompUSA. I have the same problem with power to the keyboard when I try the DiskScrub software so I wasn't able to proceed.
October 16, 2006 8:00:29 PM

Did you check the BIOS For anything that says "USB Keyboard/Mouse support"???


Also, if you read what was said, formating though any windows programs are not very good. There were plenty of suggestions for free programs that will do what your looking to do. The Linux Boot Disks including the UBCD will allow you to use your USB devices if you continue having trouble with them.


Also, both your keyboard and mouse came with PS/2 adapters. You can always use them.
October 16, 2006 8:27:28 PM

Okay... My advice is either use the drive for backup or kill it physically such as a shotgun until the platters are destroyed - fairly easy at close range. Or try this. Open the hdd up with a sludge hammer until it comes apart - the casing should crack-then put some motor oil on it-then sand-shake it all around so it gets everywhere-next use a sandblower on the platters. Next throw it in the next fire you have outside just for the fun of it- the oil burns pretty good here too. Then give it to the Gov and see what they can get off of it. It should be a good challenge from there... and the gov wouldn't go thru it unless you were Bill Gates and didn't pay your taxes for life. No offense Bill I am down with you like Weird Al.
October 16, 2006 9:28:40 PM

2 words describing total distruction of the HDD: MICRO WAVE set to 1 minute.

Or just sink it in a lake.... shred it and eat the platers over the course of 10 days... Feed it to pigs.. (does that only work in the movies).... or give it to a cat.
October 16, 2006 10:44:47 PM

:twisted: Thermite :twisted:
October 17, 2006 1:13:42 PM

Hello all.

Thanks to you guys I was able to locate the USB keyboard support function and after turning it on all is well!! Reformat and reinstall of Windows went smoothly.

Thanks for all of the help!!!!
October 17, 2006 1:37:57 PM

Awe you suck. We had all kinds of beter ideas.... and I bet someone would have sent you some Thermite if you sent him back a video of you melting your drive.
October 17, 2006 7:24:22 PM

I really really hope you 1st used a very very good scrubbing program.

Thieves will pay top dollar for you machine and look for personal data.
They spend all day buying such machines and make good money.

Good Luck.

When I sold a "HDD Less" PC which I noted lacked a HDD because it crashed, I was offered more money for the crashed HDD than the PC by many many emailers. (No, I was not that dumb. I was dissembled and physically destroy in many fun ways before it was shipped to the junk grave yard.)
!