Plan Z. Destroy all your data with DBAN.

Sometimes you need to quickly destroy all your data, for whatever reason. In this case Darik’s Boot And Nuke bootable CD can help. What you need to do is download the file image dban-2.2.6_i586.iso (last version 2.2.6) and burn it without unzipping. Then to deploy it, simply reboot and follow the prompts. Important to mention, that in your PC BIOS booting order must be set to start from DVD(CD)-ROM. Beware though, as this program is designed to look for any hard drives, not only the system one, and to wipe out everything without any possibility to restore. Therefore, be extremely careful with that CD. DBAN is a good way to recycle your old computer, making sure that no identity theft is possible if you sell your PC, for instance. It is also a good way to totally sanitize your hard drive before new Windows (or whatever OS) installation, especially if you suspect it was compromised with virus or rootkit infection. Creator of this tool claims that “DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.” It is free to use. Just be aware that good cleaning of large volume of data takes time.



Hung BIOS because of badly formatted hard drive

I had a real problem today. I was trying to install a Windows 7 64-bit on my computer from scratch, with wiping the first partition of the hard drive. Installation DVD was found in the internet and not verified after burning… So, during installation I suddenly noticed that BIOS splash screen is hung after first PC restart. I forced it to restart again — same story. BIOS was getting stuck after showing a message about the hard drive SMART status is OK. There was no way to load BIOS or the system. I have Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive (ST31000528AS), quite new, it would be too pessimistic to think it was damaged. I unplugged the Serial ATA cable from the motherboard, and BIOS was booting again. My assumption was that Windows 7 installation somehow misplaced the MBR or something. So I would need some tools to restore the booting hard drive ability. But the real problem was that because of that defect PC would not boot even at the BIOS stage. I was trapped: I need a PC to fix the hard drive, but PC cannot stand this faulty hard drive. If I boot without the Barracuda, I have no chance to plug the disc afterwards. What to do?

I started exploring other motherboard options (I have an old but very functional ASUS motherboard) and I found Silicon Image SATARaid Controller I’ve never used before. That controller could also work as a SATA port, if selected in the BIOS. I plugged my Barracuda in the socket and refreshed the BIOS. The BIOS was booting normally. Now I would need to find a way to fix the hard drive. Windows 7 installation DVD was not good for that purpose, its recovery tools could not see the drive connected thru raid controller. I used my Lenovo Y510 notebook to goggle a free bootable cd. And I’ve found a beautiful piece of software called Ultimate Boot CD. It has tons of good stuff to check and repair issues related to BIOS, CPU, Boot Management, Data Recovery, Disk Wiping and Cloning. So, I Downloaded 300 Mb ISO image and burt it.

Ultimate Boot CD v.5.0.3