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Wanted Feature

2004-02-10 20:12:01.913454+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Feature that would help sysadmins and Microsoft: A "self-destruct" that wipes the drive that Windows is currently running from. This would save me from a lot of work verifying that we've cleaned up correctly on old computers that we're looking to scrap.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Microsoft Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-10 20:59:07.151736+00 by: meuon

You could fdisk and install Linux.. ;)


or similiar disks make this easy. Note: I just helped an non-profit get some PC's w/ HD's donated because of this utility.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-10 21:23:41.01484+00 by: Dan Lyke

My problem is that some of these machines have floppies, some have CD drives, and on and on and...

I'm downloading a Knoppix image for the system with CD drives, and using a Win 98 boot disk to nuke off the floppy based machines. I'm not bothering to install anything because right now I just want to get the damned things out of my machine room.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-10 21:25:03.409783+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh. Crap. I just used the phrase "my machine room". I've unrecovered.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-10 21:49:45.625319+00 by: aiworks

Just an idea... but what about a utility like Meuon points to (or roll your own) and one of those USB keyring drives?

Anything worth giving away should have USB and at least one of the later Win95's, right?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-10 22:47:50.667004+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hmmm... Most all of 'em have Win2k, if I could set 'em up to boot off the keyring... I'll see how far I get this afternoon, but that might be next.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-10 23:29:47.434362+00 by: TheSHAD0W

You probably won't be able to boot off the keyring on most machines. Best thing is a 98 boot CD or floppy, exit to DOS, then fdisk.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-11 10:53:38.431573+00 by: meuon

Remember that fdisk alone will not overwrite the sectors/inodes/blocks/whatever with new random or ordered data. Ever unformatted a hard drive? It's possible. Heck it's not even hard. Fdisking changes the partition table, but tha data is still on the drive. Formatting re-writes the 'alignment markers', but not the data. Erasing a file just removes it from the fat, usually by changing the first letter of the name with a ?.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-02-11 16:47:01.37406+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, on the systems with just floppy drives I'm doing an fdisk followed by a format c: /v. That /v should cause "0" overwrites of the entire disk; things are still recoverable after that, but at a cost that exceeds the value of what could be read off the disk. The main thing we want to avoid is giving away software.

With a Un*x booted, the best simple option seems to be dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/hda followed by an fdisk so that the disk doesn't appear completely unusable to systems without a fairly flexible fdisk.

#Comment Re: Bootdisk made: 2004-02-11 23:12:35.3677+00 by: flushy

You could use this NT password recovery disk. It boots a fully usable linux OS, and it should have dd on it. If not, I'm sure you could modify it to have it.