Re-using a 'broken' hard drive.


I was wondering if it was possible to re-use an old hard drive which resulted in the

"A disk read error occurred Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart" error. I am 90% sure the reason for this error is because I tried to install XP over the top of a Linux installation and everything went rubbish.

Basically I want to re-use the hard drive, but have no interest in retrieving any of the old files. Is there any way I can wipe the hard drive completely, to get rid of any Linux partitioning, as well as any Windows files that might have settled in, or is the 'disk read error' the end of the drive?

Please bear in mind that I have no way to use slave or master methods, as I have no other working hard drives, but i do have an xp installation cd etc.


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  1. Best answer
    Yes there is, but why take the risk? I can't see any reason to depend on a hard drive that has a 10% chance of being bad.

    The simplest way is to boot into XP installation and instruct it to reformat the hard drive (delete existing partitions and then allocate a new one). You could get more complicated and do a Secure Erase of the entire drive if you want to, by downloading Parted Magic and making a bootable CD, but you would need a working computer to do this.
  2. Thanks for the reply!

    I did try reformatting it, but to no avail. I still get the disk read error. Maybe it isn't the 90% i thought it was....

    Thanks for trying though.
  3. I use Killdisk to securely erase any HDDs I want to get rid of. Its pretty simple to use and it tells you exactly how to create a bootable cd for it to run on.

    I would say give it a try and then find a third party disk utility that can check your drive integrity so you can stop guessing at whether it works and know for sure if it is good to use or something to toss.
  4. Best answer selected by Kwetla.
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