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My old laptop died lately and I want to have it fixed by a repair-shop.

Now first I want to clean the hard disk (via an external 2,5 inch casing).

I managed to connect the drive via USB in order to backup files and remove personal data.

Now I'm about to delete old partitions.

However, it might be useful for the repair-guy (or woman!) to have access to the OS. Or at least have a proper boot loader. I'm not familiar with preparing the disk for a new OS install.

A. can I simply delete all partitions (i'm using ubuntu and Gparted)? Is there a risk of deleting / formatting too much?

B. can I install an OS on this harddrive, then disconnect it from my working laptop and put it back into the old laptop?

EDIT: it seems Mint is versatile enough to move between different machines (How could I install Linux to the hard drive of a different computer (one that won't boot from cd))

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2 Answers 2

feel free to wipe everything on the hard-disk if you are sure that there is nothing important on it. I recommend that you use dBan it completely wipes everything: http://www.dban.org/ . Also, when everything is wiped and done with you can still easily install a new OS on it by CD/DVD. Make sure that you put your optical drive as first priority to boot on in your BIOS. :) If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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thanks!! no bios or bootloader issues, i understand? –  hsmit May 19 '12 at 13:08
    
Not that I know of, the program: dban is trusted and has great reputation. When the hard drive is wiped the computer will still be able to boot and also boot on the CD/DVD drive :). –  Shad Asinger May 19 '12 at 13:14
    
You DO realize that dban will remove everything... and I mean everything from the hard drive you use it on... right? No data, no partitions, no Operating System... nothing will be left behind. So, although it won't affect the BIOS, there won't be a bootloader left on the drive. Turning on the computer after using dban will result in seeing the message on the screen that there is no boot disc present. –  Bon Gart May 19 '12 at 13:24
    
U sure? Because I have wiped my harddisk for like 3-4 times and installed a new OS on it and I have had no problem. Also I do think that after you have wiped the harddrive that you can still boot on the optical drive... Correct me if I am wrong :) –  Shad Asinger May 19 '12 at 13:28
    
Of course you can... but this person can't boot to an optical drive. See their edit? That's apparently one of the issues here. And I'm not saying that dban kills a hard drive, but it does erase the bootloader that was on the drive beforehand. I mean, the drive wouldn't boot until AFTER you installed an OS (and another bootloader) on it. That's where the bootloader lives. On the hard drive. –  Bon Gart May 19 '12 at 13:30

You are taking the computer to a repair shop. They have the ability to install an OS if they need one. In fact, they would love to sell you that option... installing Windows in all it's factory fresh glory.

I'm guessing from your edit (because you didn't allude to it anywhere else) that one of the things wrong with the computer is that the optical drive doesn't work. In such a case, they would most likely remove the one that doesn't, and use a temporary replacement until they put a permanent replacement in. However, they don't need an OS for that. Seriously. One or two screws, slide out the old optical drive, slide in another one, turn the laptop on, open the drive, insert a bootable CD, and they will know if it works a few seconds later. No installed OS necessary, see?

I get it. You don't want them to have access to your private data. Just copy your stuff, do a full format on the drive's existing partitions (not a quick one), and that will be sufficient.

Heck, if the computer ONLY needs a new optical drive, you don't even need to go that far. You can just keep the hard drive with you, and once they return the laptop to you in working condition, you can insert the hard drive back in and continue where you left off.

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no, its not my optical drive, I think the motherboard melted due to a peak in power supply or so.. –  hsmit May 19 '12 at 16:03

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