How To Clear Files off of Hard Disk

Hello,

I am a web guru, and know operating systems like the back of my hand. However, I am a little lost when it comes to hardware simply because I have never taken the time to learn it -- all my free time has been given to web design.

I have two older computers that both run Windows XP. I have taken all of the important documents and saved them on a flash drive. I would like to totally swipe my hard drive of all documents, and start fresh. I know that this won't make it totally brand new, but it will be better than what I have now.

I have heard that the real computer techs will totally clear the hard drive, then reinstall the operating system. How do I do this? I know that there are programs out there, but I would like to know the advanced method. I don't want some cheesy method. When I do something, I'm all out.

Any help or advice is appreciated!

Thanks,
Nathan
12 answers Last reply
More about clear files hard disk
  1. do you have a xp disk?

    set the bios to start the cdrom first and install windows. it will ask you if you wanna delete the partion....the whole drive.....say yes to it and the cd will lead the way
  2. No, I don't have a XP disk. Can I just buy one and install it?
  3. yes,\
    ya thats what it will ask, do you wanna delete the partion, it will ask the quick way or the slow way, i forget the tech wording, but go the slow way or else it may keep hidden viruses it the boot drive partition ( trust me it happens)

    ive had to do it before, from a virus laden 640 gig harddrive full of porn and torrents to a complete clean xp install in about 2 hours. with 4 gigs of ram.anything less on a 500 gig harddrive and you might as well leave it overnight.
  4. Boot your XP/Vista CD - choose Do Not Repair XP..delete the partition (C: drive ), then create it, then install the OS... you're good to go.
  5. Wow - not sure what to say. Slow night perhaps?
  6. Nathan: you might also go to the hdd manfu's site download their utility and create a boot disk which will then allow you to wipe the hdd,by writing zeros to the whole hdd,,this is the next best thing to getting a new hdd,and it works like a charm,also check out http://www.majorgeeks.com/ great site..:)
  7. Quote:
    Nathan: you might also go to the hdd manfu's site download their utility and create a boot disk which will then allow you to wipe the hdd,by writing zeros to the whole hdd,,this is the next best thing to getting a new hdd,and it works like a charm,also check out http://www.majorgeeks.com/ great site..


    Writing all zeros to the drive is only usefull if you will be giving the drive to someone else and you don't want anything recovered. If you're going to be reusing the drive a simple full format is sufficient. A full format will also mark bad sectors so they don't get used.
    Quick format will only delete the FAT table, basicly makes the drive look like it has nothing on it.
  8. Yeah, ZEROing a drive is good if giving to someone else.
    But deleting and recreating the partion as mentioned will be very quick and effective for personal re-use.
  9. You may be able to restore Windows by pressing F2 or something at startup especially if it is HP or another brand computer.
  10. Everyone,

    Thank you so much for the help! :)
  11. sturm said:
    Quote:
    Nathan: you might also go to the hdd manfu's site download their utility and create a boot disk which will then allow you to wipe the hdd,by writing zeros to the whole hdd,,this is the next best thing to getting a new hdd,and it works like a charm,also check out http://www.majorgeeks.com/ great site..


    Writing all zeros to the drive is only usefull if you will be giving the drive to someone else and you don't want anything recovered. If you're going to be reusing the drive a simple full format is sufficient. A full format will also mark bad sectors so they don't get used.
    Quick format will only delete the FAT table, basicly makes the drive look like it has nothing on it.


    I use onboard raid and it's only stable if I ZERO the drive first prior to setting up the raid 0. But for increasing performance simply reinstalling windows should be good enough.
  12. if you want to remove data safley and securly, try Active@ killdisk.

    it seems like a nasty name, but its not. for those already familiar with this tool, it writes the allocation tables of the drive to 0's and in this way "cleans" the data off. Its great as it boots from a floppy, and is a very usefull tool for system administrators. the other tool you might find usefull is a live distro named UBCD, ultimate boot CD, which comes with a collection of handy tools, like memory tests for overclocking etc and low level format tools. and much more. check them out.
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