I need to wipe an old laptop (one pass, all zeros will do).

The laptop is ancient and has:

  • Windows XP Professional installed as its sole os.
  • no USB boot support
  • no working CD drive
  • no hammer/drill I have nothing else to use with it, no external CD drive etc (not that that would work anyway, as the bios doesn't load USB drivers). So, just the laptop. It is connected to the Internet, and I'm familiar with technical operations, so don't be shy!

Basically, I need something that work similarly to EASEUS PARTITION MASTER, where I can install it on the laptop, in Windows xp. Tell it to wipe the laptop, and then on restart it boots in to its own command line temporary partition and gets the job done.

Any ideas?

  • 2
    No other PC you can work with? (pull the HDD out, and wipe using the other PC)
    – Darius
    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:18
  • 1
    @Darius That would be by far the easiest approach. But changes are that on a laptop that old the HD is one of those 2.5" IDE drives with a 44 pin connector. Might be hard to source an appropriate conversion cable.
    – Tonny
    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:33
  • It's ancient. So yeah, IDE drive. Only other pc is a msi z270. No IDE controllers.
    – Jack_Hu
    Jan 13, 2018 at 11:00

2 Answers 2


I have tried this a number of times with success on old systems without USB boot support.
(Or to boot a VirtualBox VM with a USB stick. VirtualBox doesn't normally do USB boot either.)

Get a copy of Plop Boot Manager
Install it to the MBR.
Inside the boot manager you can select a USB drive to continue booting from, even if the system doesn't have USB boot support
So you just can pop in a USB stick with GParted, DBAN or whatever else you want to use to wipe the HD.

Read the documentation first. The thing isn't made for the average user.

  • Plop will work with a floppy drive, if they've got the old XP computer they should have some floppies kicking around somewhere too.
    – Xen2050
    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:45
  • @Xen2050 Question is if the laptop has a floppy drive. In that case it should also be able to boot from floppy without support from Plop and it is just easier to download a single-floppy Linux (like muLinux) and use that (dd /dev/zero /dev/hda).
    – Tonny
    Jan 13, 2018 at 11:00
  • Plop. Cool. Thanks. I'll give it a try. I guess it has the drivers installed in the boot partition.
    – Jack_Hu
    Jan 13, 2018 at 11:01
  • Basically, we're moving, and my partner found her very first laptop. I've grabbed the stuff she wanted off it, now I just want to dispose of it. So no floppy disks anywhere, just the laptop and charger in a bag.
    – Jack_Hu
    Jan 13, 2018 at 11:04
  • Just noticed the Q doesn't say but seems to imply the laptop has nothing else available to boot from. Using a windows-dd equivalent maybe "writing" a live ISO directly to the hard drive might get it to boot too, but also might have problems overwriting it's now system drive too. @Jack_Hu you could just take the hard drive with you and get rid of the rest of the laptop, then use the drive again later when you have a compatible adapter/computer.
    – Xen2050
    Jan 13, 2018 at 11:13

A simpler (but maybe more error prone) partial solution would be to delete all the personal information , then create a file/set of files to expand to the whole size of the hard drive - these could contain 0's or other generic data - if you use multiple files make sure they are an exact multiple of 4k - and then erase those files.

This would not remove the OS, but would irevocably erase personal data.

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