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Erase Hard Drive, via format

By mustang23a ·
What is the fastest way to erase/format hard drives being removed from government office, leaving hard drive reusable for re-image/format?

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by Oz_Media In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

Well there are a conflicting things here.

1) A government or Military wipe is VERY thorough, doesn't render the drive unimagable (is that a word?)but takes forever to secure wipe. There are several utilities for this including Norton System Works, Clean Sweep or IOLO System Mechanic.

2) If the drives are being resused by the same or related users and in depth recovery attempt aren't a threat, you can just perform a simple "format c(or other drive letter)" One file wipe will make it data disappear but not with the amount of rewrites and passes used in a more robust cleaner.
This will be much faster and the new image can still be added.

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by mustang23a In reply to

I realize I can do a f-disk type erasure. I have 10,000 to erase after new pc installationand they have to be erased via format. i am told the f-disk process is not acceptable. I am looking for a floppy or other media erasure or batch ile typre of reformat of the pc so it can be salvaged and resold. We have a DOD wipe process that takes 1hr we need something under 15 minutes. Your answer was not bad just need to address fast and erasure with a specific wipe.

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by TheChas In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

NO type of format is going to prevent data recovery.

Whoever told you that fdisk is not as good as a format was just plain wrong!!

The big question is how sensitive is the data?
And, how much would someone be willing to pay to recover it?

If the data is not very sensitive, and not worth any serious effort to recover, there is an fdisk method that will make it VERY difficult to recover the data.

Delete the partitions.

Run fdisk /mbr to rebuild the master boot record.

Then partition the drive with different partition sizes than before.

Once you format the primary DOS partition, the data from the previous installation is very difficult to recover.

Since the average drive is formatted as a single partition, setting new partitions at say 80% and 20% of the total capacity should do the job for most of the drives.

I've never tried, or needed to, run fdisk from a batch file. There are a number of documented and hidden switches. Check out the links at

If the drives can be easily removed from the systems, you might want to set up a multi-bay hot swap system.
You will need IDE controllers that support hot swapping, then setup a script to re-partition and format the drives.

You might want to contact a hard drive manufacture and see if you can get information on the equipment that they use to test / refurbish drives.

Another option that comes to mind is to run a low level format. (This is most likely what drive manufactures do when they get a drive back under warranty.)
You will need to get the specific low level format utility from each drive manufacture.
Then you will need to partition and format the drives to install the OS image.

A side thought on imaging the formatted drives. "Technically" any Microsoft OEM license is only valid for the original system and purchaser. They usually cannot be transfered to a new owner.


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by gstair In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

The fastest way to erase a drive is to use fdisk.exe to delete the existing partitions. This does leave all data somewhat still intact on the drive and quite easy to recover. Beyond that method, the best way that I know of to reformat a drive is to put a copy of Win98's format.exe on a Win98 Startup Disk (it doesn't come with format on it), and boot the machine with this disk. When the machine boots, type in "format c: /u" for a full format, or "format c: /q /u" for a quick format. The "/u" switch is used to tell format NOT to save unformat information while formatting (this should make it a bit more difficult to unformat). Keep in mind that when you use a quickformat, it does not write over the entire drive, only the FAT (File Allocation Table) is rewritten hereby causing all of the data to stay on the drive and making it very easy to recover data from the drive. So my recommendation is to use "format c: /u" for a full format on each drive that you are going to remove. If you need the drives to be blank (without a partition) after the format is complete, simply use fdisk.exe to delete all partitions on the drive after they are formatted. This method will leave the drive ready to accept a new partition or drive image.

Like they said in a previous answer, there are some excellent pieces of software for totally destroying data on the drive if necessary. Norton Systemworks is the best that I know of.

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by bcraft In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

Depending on the security constraints, a software wipe of the drives *may* not be acceptable. The quickest method may be to pull the drives & discard them in an approved method or use an approved vendor for this.

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by sissie59 In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

I use wipe drive located at
demo is free

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by zlitocook In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

All hard drive makers that I know of have a low level format or let you write 0's to the drive. Have you tried to use any program like this from the hard drive maker? I use a electro-magnet, it's a ac driven device to destroy drives and disks that I do not want anyone to recover. But it makes the drive unusable. Buy a few extra drives and replace the ones you need to. And take the time to compleatly remove data from the old drives! KISS keep it simple.

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by wlbowers In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

Try this solution.

remove spaces that occur after copy and paste.

Seems others have had your problem.


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by myndkrime In reply to Erase Hard Drive, via for ...

you might want to try killdisk....they have 2 versions, free and pro. The pro version will format the HDD to DoD standards. You will be able to load the application on a floppy disk and the computer will boot to the floppy. Then you will start the kill disk application. It will take awhile considering the free version only performs one format, the pro version I believe performs 7. You can go to their website

Hope this helps....

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