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Wiping a laptop HHD

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October 10, 2011 5:29:48 AM

I have a laptop that's a few years old which I would like to wipe the hard drive clean to start over. I recently got myself a desktop, so I've gotten all my important files transferred. I originally had Windows Vista 32-bit installed on the laptop (which I have an install CD for), but have since upgraded to Windows 7 32-bit (again, via an upgrade CD). The laptop doesn't have a built-in CD/DVD drive, but I do have a USB CD/DVD drive.

I do not simply want to reformat. I no longer have any need for ANYTHING that is currently on my laptop. I just want to clear away everything, reinstall my OS, and then put on the few important programs that I need (like MS Office, etc.).

What would be the best way to accomplish this? I've tried to find some info, but most everything I find is for wiping your drive to prevent data theft if you're selling or throwing away your computer, which I am not doing. Also, I'm worried about the whole USB DVD drive thing. If I wipe my hard drive, will I be able to reinstall the OS through a USB DVD drive? It seems to me that without any drivers on the hard drive (since it was wiped), that the USB DVD drive wouldn't really work, thus preventing my from being able to put an OS back on it. I just don't want to do anything stupid an render my laptop un-usable.

More about : wiping laptop hhd

a b D Laptop
a c 415 G Storage
October 10, 2011 6:33:27 AM

If you're not worried about data theft, then just boot from the Windows installation DVD and use the advanced options to delete the existing partition(s) and create a new one. That will completely discard everything on the drive and start out fresh.

You don't need to worry about drivers in order to boot from the CD/DVD drive. The ability to do that is built into the system's BIOS and it works without an operating system. When you boot from a CD/DVD, everything that happens to get the install program up and running is totally separate from and does not access the hard drive. If you can boot from the CD/DVD with Windows installed on the hard drive, you'll still be able to boot from it even after Windows has been wiped from it.
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October 10, 2011 12:59:23 PM

Well I tried that once, and perhaps I did something wrong, but it just reinstalled Windows and all my old program files, etc. are still there. I was even following a guide to do it thorough way. Perhaps I need to try it again and see if I missed something.

Just out of curiosity: I read a bunch of stuff talking about DBAN...would using that to wipe my hard drive accomplish the same thing?
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October 10, 2011 1:07:50 PM

+1^ thats all correct no need to worry or panic just make sure however that there is a setting in the BIOS that will allow you to boot from an external USB device, some of the older BIOS dont allow this but im sure you will be alright as your laptop is a bit more recent then those older series.
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October 10, 2011 1:21:00 PM

Pilk said:
+1^ thats all correct no need to worry or panic just make sure however that there is a setting in the BIOS that will allow you to boot from an external USB device, some of the older BIOS dont allow this but im sure you will be alright as your laptop is a bit more recent then those older series.


I'm at work so I can't check the BIOS settings immediately, but what should I look for to ensure that setting exists? As far as my laptop, it's an HP 2730p tablet that I got in 2009.
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a c 206 D Laptop
a c 104 G Storage
October 10, 2011 2:04:59 PM

If you re-installed Windows and all of your old files were there, you did not select to delete and re-create the partition. Try again, when you get to the part where it asks you to select where to install it, delete the partition, then create a new one, quick format it, and run the setup after that. A PC from 2009 will be able to boot to the USB drive with no issues. I have installed on much older systems from one of those.

Also don't worry about what the disk wipe utilities say they are for, it's like buying a suit to wear to a wedding, then saying that you can't wear that ever again because it's only for weddings. You can use a disk wipe utility for any reason if you are wiping the disk, even if they say it's best for preventing data theft in case of Viking invasions that happen during a world-wide earthquake while your mother is cooking beef stew. Those disk wipe utilites are a bit of an overkill though for just deleting old files, as they are meant to be used to make data recovery impossible by actually over-writting the existing data with junk, which also takes a long time. A 3-pass wipe on a large drive can take almost a day.
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a b D Laptop
a c 415 G Storage
October 10, 2011 2:09:22 PM

hang-the-9 said:
If you re-installed Windows and all of your old files were there, you did not select to delete and re-create the partition. Try again, when you get to the part where it asks you to select where to install it, delete the partition, then create a new one, quick format it, and run the setup after that.
As he says. On the screen that gives you a choice as to where to install windows you'll find an "Advanced Option..." link - clicking that link will bring up the additional options that let you delete and create partitions.

During the installation it's not necessary to specifically format the partition that you install Windows on since the install program will do that anyway if it's a new, empty partition.
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October 11, 2011 9:11:50 AM

+1^ took a look at the laptop and will be bootable just go through BIOS to the bootable options heading and select the DVD drive as being your first device.
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