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DBAN and KillDisk are foiled, now what?
November 13, 2011 1:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to prep a PC for donation/craigslist by wiping the drive. DBAN won't boot from the CD drive, and neither will KillDisk.

I've reinstalled Vista and removed the partition, but haven't been able to get DBAN or KillDisk to work. I was going to just rely on the new install, but then I ran Pandora Recovery and thousands of files came up.

[I've been doing this on another computer and was able to get KillDisk to work, but never DBAN. I've given up on DBAN for now.]

I'm able to choose to boot from CD during startup, but then I get an error message every damn time. I've been doing this since yesterday (grar!).

During boot I push F12 to select the right drive. I choose "Onboard or USB CD-ROM Drive" from the Boot Device Menu.

The error message says:

- initDiskCONFIG.SYS error in line 0
>>>FFILES=20
getFATblock failed: 0x000000d2

Any ideas? I'm trying to avoid having to remove the hard drive and physically destroy it. There's nothing wrong with the machine, we just don't need it any more.
posted by lvanshima to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know what the issue with KillDisk might be, but you could get a Linux Live CD and use the following:

http://linuxhelp.blogspot.com/2006/06/how-to-securely-erase-hard-disk-before.html

Most Linux editions have sufficient drivers to boot nearly any system and recognise your installed disks no matter what formatting they have. This should get around whatever issue KillDisk is having.

Don't worry about the last paragraph. Technically it is possible to recover data after this process, but it requires a sealed clean room environment and costs many thousands upon more thousands of dollars/pounds for a single drive.
posted by fearnothing at 2:01 PM on November 13, 2011


Update: formatting is the wrong word. Disk type is more applicable. Formatting is irrelevant to this Linux tool as it applies the shred command to the entire physical disk and not to the formatted filesystem within the physical disk.
posted by fearnothing at 2:09 PM on November 13, 2011


I'm trying to avoid having to remove the hard drive and physically destroy it.

Could you remove the hard drive, put it in another computer, and then try to run DBAN on it?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:19 PM on November 13, 2011


Could you remove the hard drive, put it in another computer, and then try to run DBAN on it?

I'm not that sophisticated unfortunately, and wouldn't want to risk screwing up a working computer.

fearnothing - i tried this using a xubuntu install disk but it doesn't seem to be working. i booted from the CD and chose "Use xubuntu without installing" and there's some crazy error message stuff. it says 'unable to find a medium containing a live file system'

help?

the one promising thing about the xubuntu disk is that it actually booted (baby steps).
posted by lvanshima at 2:24 PM on November 13, 2011


yes, when booted into xubuntu, try to find the Terminal application from one of the menus. Then type the following commands:

sudo -i

This will grant you root user access if you don't already have it.

ls /dev

This will give you a list of connected devices. You are looking for items marked 'hda', 'hdb', which will be the computer's internal drives. They should appear here whether or not they are formatted with FAT/NTFS. If you only have one hard disk it should be 'hda'.

Assuming it is present, the instructions in the site I have linked to should work. If it's not present, you might be looking at a hardware compatibility issue, or a hardware fault.
posted by fearnothing at 2:33 PM on November 13, 2011


I'm not an expert but from what I've read it looks as if multiple-write, intensive disk scrubbing software like DBAN is probably excessive.

Using the 'dd' command on any Linux system should be enough. Boot from any Linux CD or USB drive, open a shell, and type something like:

sudo dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda

or

sudo dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/hda

(it depends on the type of drive)

Be very careful with dd - it will overwrite any partition or drive you point it at. I would recommend reading up on it before you use it - never directly type in shell commands recommended by complete strangers on the Internet. Including me.

This page from Sophos has a good overview of using dd to wipe drives.
posted by BinaryApe at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2011


I think UBCD has a few disk wipe utilities.
posted by rhizome at 3:17 PM on November 13, 2011


I'm gonna take a different tack and, based on the symptoms & reported error, suggest that
(a) the drive that you're using to burn the DBAN/Killdisk CD is faulty, causing the disc to be corrupted;
(b) the CD drive in the target machine is faulty, causing read errors from the disc, or
(c) the discs you're using are faulty, resulting in bad burns and read errors.
posted by Pinback at 5:04 PM on November 13, 2011


thanks for the responses, I really appreciate it. unfortunately i still haven't been able to get it to work.

yes, when booted into xubuntu, try to find the Terminal application from one of the menus.

unfortunately it's not actually booting into xubuntu. i can choose the disk in the boot menu, and i even get the splash page showing xubuntu (with the pseudo progress bar) but then i get the error message I wrote above.

(a) the drive that you're using to burn the DBAN/Killdisk CD is faulty, causing the disc to be corrupted;

the thing is, i used the killdisk CD to wipe another computer. a really old Sony VAIO, and it worked just fine. i was able to wipe the drive and install xubuntu, also burned on the same drive.

(b) the CD drive in the target machine is faulty, causing read errors from the disc, or

i think this is definitely possible, although i did restore Vista with a CD. Also there are two cd drives, and I tried both and got the same result.

(c) the discs you're using are faulty, resulting in bad burns and read errors.

I thought that might be the case with DBAN because it was an old CDRW but the KillDisk is a new CDR and i was able to use it on the other computer.

I just tried booting Ubuntu from a USB flash drive and when I chose the flash drive from the boot menu I got this message, and it would not boot: "remove disk or other media. Press any key to restart"

any other suggestions? i'm at the end of my rope and willingness to invest any more time in something i'm getting rid of.

this is what happens when i pretend i know anything about IT. so frustrating.
posted by lvanshima at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2011


My recommendation would be to go into the BIOS and reset all the disk settings to default, and disable AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface), if you have an option to do so. Then try booting from DBAN or KillDisk again.
posted by jferg at 7:43 PM on November 13, 2011


jferq - you are my hero. killdisk is now murdering my hard drive. woot!

for anyone else's reference, i had to google how to set the BIOS settings to default (I wasn't sure it would be an easy to find option, but it was pretty clear once I figured out that BIOS = Setup.

then i had to google how to disable AHCI. the instructions were confusing as all hell, but i figured out that i needed to change the regedit setting to 1 (not zero). Zero is if you want AHCI, apparently.

then i had to google (noticing a theme here?) how to change the BIOS settings to disable AHCI. The link didn't actually tell me how to do it, but I was able to figure out that I needed to change the SATA configuration from RAID to RAID Auto/ATA.

Then I rebooted from the KillDisk CD and IT WORKED! I was seriously shouting with glee.

Thanks all for your help - I'm so glad to not have to trash this computer/hard drive.
posted by lvanshima at 8:42 PM on November 13, 2011


I use Eraser to overwrite unused portions of the drive.
posted by theora55 at 9:42 PM on November 13, 2011


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