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    Scleros's Avatar
    Scleros Posts: 2,166, Reputation: 262
    Hardware Expert
     
    #1

    Sep 11, 2009, 10:12 PM
    Hard Drive FAQ
    ATTENTION: This FAQ is Microsoft Windows biased to avoid excessive information that may lead to confusion for novice computer users. If you have a hard drive issue for Linux, Mac, or any other operating system, please post a question in this forum or in the relevant operating system forum.


    Q: I just bought a new hard drive. Now what?
    A: New drives need to be prepared before they can be used for storing data files. Once the drive, either external or internal, has been properly cabled, jumpered, or otherwise physically installed, it must be logically prepared for use by the operating system that will be using it or installed on it. Preparation consists of segregating the drive into one or more partitions and then formatting each partition with a filesystem. The formatted partitions are then assigned a logical drive letter, such as C:.

    Drive preparation in Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME:
    New blank single drives are prepared for Windows installation using a DOS boot disk or CD containing the FDISK and FORMAT command-line tools. Additional drives can be added using the same command-line tools within a DOS prompt from within Windows.

    Drive preparation in Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista +
    New blank single drives are prepared during Windows Setup with the computer booted from the Windows disc. Additional drives are prepared within Windows using the Disk Management section of the Computer Management applet in the Control Panel Administrative Tools.

    Q: My drive is making unusual noises / isn't recognized / won't read / generates errors / has a problem?
    A: Use the manufacturer's diagnostic below to check the drive.

    Fujitsu - Diagnostic Tools

    Hitachi Global Storage Solutions (also for some IBM drives) - Drive Fitness Test

    Lenovo - Hard Drive Quick Test

    Seagate Technology (also for Connor, Maxtor drives) - SeaTools

    Western Digital - Data Lifeguard Tools (Floppy Version)
    CD and other software versions available in support section for a specific drive model on Western Digital's website.

    Q: I'm getting rid of my computer. How do I clean my personal data from it so that I do not suffer from identity theft?
    A: The most secure way is to physically shred the drive using one of the many services available that do so. Google data destruction. Alternatively, one of the following free software utilities can erase and/or overwrite the drive with random data to make it extremely unlikely your data can be recovered. These utilities can also be used to eradicate stubborn malware infestations.

    WARNING: Use of these utilities will destroy all data including the operating system (e.g. Windows, etc.) requiring operating system reinstallation.

    DBAN - Darik's Boot and Nuke
    Active KillDisk
    Heidi Eraser

    Q: How do I backup my drive/data?
    A: There are different types of backup. Windows includes a file based backup utility (Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup, or thereabouts) that can be used for partial or full system backup. A more expedient option to data recovery is drive imaging software that creates a complete point-in-time image of a hard drive (i.e. cloning) and then allows recovery of the image onto a new or existing drive without requiring installation of an operating system on the computer first (i.e. bare metal recovery) which the Windows backup utility would require. Each approach allows backup to a variety of backup media including additional hard drives, CD or DVD optical discs, tape drives, or USB Flash memory drives. There are numerous backup utilities a web search away. A sampling of popular free, open-source, and commercial backup utilities is listed below:
    Please report bad or changed links to author or AskMeHelpDesk Administrator.
    Clough's Avatar
    Clough Posts: 26,677, Reputation: 1649
    Uber Member
     
    #2

    Sep 12, 2009, 01:44 PM
    Thank you for posting that, Scleros!

    Great idea and very helpful!

    Thanks!

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