General Question

Mr_Saturn512's avatar

How can I wipe a hard drive and reinstall a new OS?

Asked by Mr_Saturn512 (558points) November 15th, 2018

Helping out a friend. I’ve wiped one of his hard drives once before using CCleaner. However, this time, he lent me a bunch of laptops for me to wipe AND reinstall a brand new OS.

Most of these laptops are really old – like XP era old. I can’t just hook the hard drive to my dekstop PC because the hard drive ports aren’t compatible. I’m blanking out on how to clear the hard drive entirely otherwise. Even my flash drives are too new for the laptops to recognize. I could burn CCleaner on a disc and do it that way. But now my question is: I can’t really be on the same computer whose hard drive I intend to wipe, right? I need to do it through a connection to another PC.

Second question. One of his laptops IS recent enough to hook to my desktop. I was going to wipe the hard drive but whenever I plug it in, File Explorer is veerrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy slow. Incredibly slow. It’s so slow at loading the hard drive. The funny thing is – there’s hardly anything on it to begin with. When I tried turning on that laptop – absolutely nothing happened. It would power on but the screen remained black. I tried getting CCleaner to wipe that hard drive but even CCleaner freezes when it tries to read that laptop’s hard drive. What’s up with it?
(My friend obviously doesn’t know. He has had these lying around for a while and just shrugged when I asked him.)

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2 Answers

Zaku's avatar

What OS are you trying to put on it?

Easiest would probably be Linux. Make a bootable Linux installation CD (download disk image, write it to a CD) and then use a CD drive that those computers probably all have themselves, to wipe and re-partition the drives and install Linux. Or, perhaps just use CD-bootable Linux to wipe and partition the drives, and then use another OS’ boot/install CD media.

But just for wiping the drives from your other computer, you can get a hard drive cradle device which you plug into your computer, and which has older-style hard drive plugs, with which you can mess with the drives from your computer.

As for what’s wrong with that one laptop – it could be various things, but my first guess would be a hard drive problem. Before trying to install an OS on an old hard drive, I’d test the old hard drive to see how it is doing – it might be dying or about to die, in which case it’d tend to be a waste of effort, and a hard drive in good/better condition should be swapped in if someone’s really going to try to use the old machine.

elbanditoroso's avatar

This answer could go on forever, but I don’t feel like typing that much.

1) Take the bad drive out of the old computer and makes sure it is an EIDE drive. If it’s that old, it probably is.

2) Invest in a drive enclosure that supports EIDE. (I probably have one in a junk drawer some place.)

3) Put it in the enclosure, see if it spins up and is recognized by your good machine.

4) If it is, then download (free) a Hard Drive Low Level formatter Run it and do a low level format on the drive.

5) put it back in the old computer. There won’t be an operating system and it won’t boot.

6) Download Windows or Linux and put it on a bootable CD. Then turn the machine on with the CD in the drive.

7) Follow the instructions to load the OS.

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