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Is there any light utility that can format the whole disk including OS drive?

I need to erase sensitive data after using the machine.

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Multiple destructive writes with badblocks should do the trick. Running badblocks -swv /dev/sda from a Linux live CD would destroy all data on the primary drive on most systems. –  oKtosiTe Feb 18 '11 at 22:05
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

An OS can't erase itself well, just use your installation medium.

As for secure erasing, use something like Eraser, SDelete, DBAN and so on...

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If the data has been removed from the system and the OP just needs to make sure it can't be recovered, SDelete or the built-in cipher tool will do the job. Also, a full format on Vista/7 will erase the entire drive. –  afrazier Feb 18 '11 at 21:44
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Boot from a USB or CD with a Live version of Ubuntu and install "gparted" on it. From there you will see a graphical representation of the disk and delete partitions or the whole drive as necessary.

sudo apt-get install gparted
sudo gparted

Please reply to this post if it worked for you or not.

UPDATE: Found a much easier way to do it, just download and burn a CD with the gparted .iso

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php

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Seagate actually has one of the simplest self booting diagnostic tools. Seatools can do simple erases or write all 0's format. This would not guarantee professional recovery techs couldn't recover some or most data, however it far outperforms simple formats. If you want to securely erase the drive a multi pass program that meets DoD standards will eliminate this probability but will not be fast.

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You could use something like ghost this could restore your hard drive to a previous state such as a roll back in vmware, it takes about 5 to 7 min and it can be open source. It can be done by the network as well.

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