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Thread: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    I'm selling my desktop and instead of having to format it from scratch and having to install the OS all over again is there a way to format the entire hard drive except the OS? I want to make sure there are no traces of my personal information left before I sell it.

    cheers,

    Rafa

  2. #2
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    Recommend mirroring the OS to another HD then using multiple wipe delete followed by format....restore from the mirror.

    This is an overnight process and may take longer depending upon the size of the drive. It does insure that no data is left for recovery.

    Bob

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    Senior Member kweide's Avatar
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    In case of ThinkPads it is no problem, Just set back to factory defaults. I suppose other brands will have hidden partitions as well on ther HDDs so you easily scratch the HDD and reinstall the OS automaticly. In case of ThinkPads it lasts about 20-30 minutes...
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    Just about every computer maker offers a restore disk that places the disk in the same state it was when it was new.

    Don
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    Senior Member kweide's Avatar
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    .. they all name it "Recovery CD" or "Recovery DVD"
    Boot it up and let it do its job....
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  6. #6
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Just about every computer maker offers a restore disk that places the disk in the same state it was when it was new.

    Well, kind of, and kind of not. I think they restore the 'function' of the HDD (incl OS) back to its original state. Areas of the HDD with deleted files are left unaltered, files maybe recovered -- even with Lenovo.

    The only way to be sure all personal data is off your computer is to replace the HDD and load the OS onto the new drive. In the grand scheme of life, HDDs are cheap. I always remove the HDD from a computer I am abandoning.

    If you are not replacing the HDD, I'd go with Docmoore's advice above.

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    Senior Member kweide's Avatar
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    Go to Lenovo Web site and download from Downloadpages "Secure Data Disposal" This tool will erase your HDD with no chance of restore !! But look out: It takes a long time. Each sector is rewritten with a random pattern. You can selcect up to 7 runs, that means hour over hours of execution...

    After that boot up your recovery CD and reinstal the factory setting.

    BTW: I often did this without erasing HDD before. The Restore run automatically formats the HDD !!
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    Agree with the others -- unless I am selling a used system to a friend, I yank the HD and replace it with a fresh one and fresh OS install. As mentioned, you can do the secure overwrites, but that can take so long -- like an entire day -- with a large drive it's simply cheaper to buy a new drive and start fresh.
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  9. #9
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Can you format an HD but not the OS?

    I forgot to mention, I never delete any file from my computer -- I shred the files I don't want. I move them to the recycle bin then run a freeware shredder application on the recycle bin. That is about as safe as anyone can reasonably be to prevent personal data from being recovered from discarded/deleted files, but it does nothing for whatever data and temp files the system used and deleted.

    ETA: I also do not "move" files to external drives -- I "copy" the data to the external drive, then move the original to the recycle bin, then shred the bin.

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