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  1. #1
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    OT Computers: Removing a hidden partition on a hard drive

    Long story short, was having major problems with my internal HD. Replaced, life is good. It is very possible that the old HD was not physically in bad shape, but the OS could have been corrupted. I am using it as an outboard HD now without trouble.

    -Removed the c and d partion, merged, then formatted in Win Disc Management

    There is a 1.95 gb sector that I assume has the OS in it and I want to remove that partition and format right through the whole thing for security. It's possible a virus or trjan corrupted the OS, so I want to wipe the drive beginning to end. Windows gives me no options to disable, delete, format, or anything to this sector.

    Any programs can do this and preferably free?

  2. #2
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    Try the website of the drive manufacturer....

    What is the make of the drive?

    Many of the drive manufacturers have free utilities you can download (Maxtor = MaxBlaster, Seagate = Discwizard, etc) that have partition/format and zero fill tools.

    It sounds like it may have been a system or restore partition. Many of the PC makers don't include image CD's anymore....instead you press one of the function keys while the system is booting and it will boot off the system utility or restore partition to run diagnostics and/or restore the O/S and applications that came with it.

  3. #3
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    or, look for...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Long story short, was having major problems with my internal HD. Replaced, life is good. It is very possible that the old HD was not physically in bad shape, but the OS could have been corrupted. I am using it as an outboard HD now without trouble.

    -Removed the c and d partion, merged, then formatted in Win Disc Management

    There is a 1.95 gb sector that I assume has the OS in it and I want to remove that partition and format right through the whole thing for security. It's possible a virus or trjan corrupted the OS, so I want to wipe the drive beginning to end. Windows gives me no options to disable, delete, format, or anything to this sector.

    Any programs can do this and preferably free?
    I think its called NSA Erase or something like that. Its a little boot disk that does a triple pass erase and leaves nothing to be recovered. I could be wrong on the name, but it's something like that.

  4. #4
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    Do Dos FDISK command, then format again http://personal.picusnet.com/jtmurphy/fdisk.htm
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  5. #5
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    The make of the HD is Hitachi. I actually spent several days looking stuff up about this and I did come up with ackowledgement of this hidden partition, but specific to Lenovo and removal in Lenovos, not on an outboard basis.

    I'll check out the FDISK.

    EDIT: The FDISK link won't apply to me. I have a Windows XP Pro system.

  6. #6
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    You can still handle partitions inside XP with the management console... as long as the drive is "mounted" (has a letter assigned) you can see it in the management console (Right click My Computer, and go to Manage...) and check your drives.. you can create and delete partitions there. You could also use a program like PartitionMagic, which works great for that.

  7. #7
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    No, I've already used the disc manager. It deletes and enables the partions for the storage area. This is a "Hidden Partition" that only appears here, but no options are allowed for this sector. Right click and nothing comes up like it does with the active sectors. There is no letter assignment to this sector.

    As I mentioned in my original post, I was in the disk manager:

    -Removed the c and d partion, merged, then formatted in Win Disc Management
    Windows gives me no options to disable, delete, format, or anything to this sector.

  8. #8
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    Depending on the model, go here

    http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm

    or back up one page to get utilities for other models...

  9. #9
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    Nope.

  10. #10
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    I think that the triple pass NSA formatter is overkill unless you have top secret stuff on your computer.

    What I usually is run a little dos utility called slate. It erases your master boot record and makes the drive appear to be unformatted.

    Once you run slate on it you could go into windows and create the new partitions and format it (since it's being used as a second drive). Or use other utilities. In anycase the first step I always do is runs slate on it, so that I am starting with a "clean slate" and don't have to worry about hidden partitions or whatever.

    Here is where you can download slate:
    http://www.safesite.com/product.php%...teID%5Ddigibuy

    You'll need to copy that onto a dos boot disk which you can get here:
    http://www.bootdisk.com

  11. #11
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    Ok, I'll check it out and see what happens. NSA could be a ticket here, too. It's not that I have secret stuff on the drive, but that the hidden partition is a total PITA and deactivated from changes. Additionally, there is a possibility that it contains some virus or trojan corrupted sectors. Don't want to take a chance on using it because of this. Also, it was set to run a checkdisk before I removed it from service. Despite the disabling and enabling of the partition and formatting of the end-user sectors, it's still flagged as having a check disk scheduled.

    Pretty weird.

  12. #12
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    Go to this forum, its kind of like the MTBR of computers.
    http://forums.anandtech.com/
    You should be able to find some help there.
    The Revolution will not be motorized...especially at $5 per gallon.

  13. #13
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    Just for the heck of it, why not try one of the many excellent Linux live disks to do your repartition? Mepis, Sabayan, Ubuntu, there are a bunch of excellent free operating systems you can try directly from CD or DVD, then install with the push of a button if you like what you see (and I do!).

    One of the first things the live disk will do, once you choose to install permanently, is to repartition your hard drive. You can choose to delete the troublesome partitions on your HD, then bug out and reinstall Windows. Or...you could keep on going and have yourself a real operating system.

  14. #14
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    You could use dban to completely over write the drive.

    http://dban.sourceforge.net/

  15. #15
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    No, I've already used the disc manager. It deletes and enables the partions for the storage area. This is a "Hidden Partition" that only appears here, but no options are allowed for this sector. Right click and nothing comes up like it does with the active sectors. There is no letter assignment to this sector.

    As I mentioned in my original post, I was in the disk manager:
    Sorry for overlooking these details.... then you sure need something like PartitionMagic or as others suggested use one of the partition management programs that come with the linux installer CDs...

    According to this thread Ranish Partition Manager and Partition Resizer could be some options.
    Last edited by crisillo; 12-01-2006 at 08:32 AM.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, I checked out Dban.

    I'm not above saying that I'm not huge on my knowledge of computers and I'm using this as an experience to further my learning and understanding. Dban seems very complicated, or I simply don't understand the instructions.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Yeah, I checked out Dban.

    I'm not above saying that I'm not huge on my knowledge of computers and I'm using this as an experience to further my learning and understanding. Dban seems very complicated, or I simply don't understand the instructions.
    Its not that complicated. You download the "DBAN for installation on floppy disks and USB flash drives.". That is an executable that creates a bootable floppy. Put a blank floppy in and run the executable. Put the HD you want to wipe back in the PC (Make sure your good one isn't connected), then boot to the floppy. Reasonably self explanatory after that.

  18. #18
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    bozo,

    Thanks, let me clarify:

    1. DL the file to my USB drive (or CD-R)
    2. Select BIOS to boot from CD drive first, shut down
    3. Remove HD, install one to be wiped
    4. Start up, DBAN will take over and I select to wipe the HD

    Is this correct? A couple of words in your explanation confused me a bit.

  19. #19
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    bozo,

    Thanks, let me clarify:

    1. DL the file to my USB drive (or CD-R)
    2. Select BIOS to boot from CD drive first, shut down
    3. Remove HD, install one to be wiped
    4. Start up, DBAN will take over and I select to wipe the HD

    Is this correct? A couple of words in your explanation confused me a bit.

    One detail... you have to download the file to your PC and execute it to create a bootable floppy or USB stick, if you want to use a CD there is link on the page on how to create the CD image.. the rest seems to be correct...

  20. #20
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  21. #21
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    Boot from a CD and you can reformat that way..
    ~ it's all good ~

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoSoSwiM
    Boot from a CD and you can reformat that way..
    Wrong.

  23. #23
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    Was that drive ever in a Lenovo? If so it was probably a recover/diagnostic partition. If it were me, I would find a Win98 boot floppy to boot with then use FDisk to remove the partition. If this drive is USB (since it is external) the Win98 boot disk isn't going to recognize it. I would probably remove the new drive and install the old one (with the partition) internally just to use FDisk to remove the partitions. Then you can add a new partition and format it with Windows.

  24. #24
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    Nope, not a Lenovo, but I did make a reference to it above.

    It was in an Acer.

  25. #25
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    Did you even look at or understand the Hitachi utilities before saying "Nope"?

    The DFT tools will let you do a DISK ERASE (filling the entire drive with 0's) and a BOOT SECTOR erase.
    Last edited by muddog4095; 12-01-2006 at 06:17 PM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by muddog4095
    Did you even look at or understand the Hitachi utilities before saying "Nope"?

    The DFT tools will let you do a DISK ERASE (filling the entire drive with 0's) and a BOOT SECTOR erase.
    Yes, sweetie:

    Note: these utilities will overwrite customer data and allow repair of bad sectors.
    Hidden partitions are not considered "customer data". There's a reason why they are hidden from the customers. This makes no mention of the hidden sectors, so I'd rather not assume.

  27. #27
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    There is an amazing amount of information available on the net for this issue. There are dozens of good forums dedicated to these topics. Why would you ask on a bike forum? Makes no sense at all. Some of us come to mtbr.com to get away from this crap. Kinda ruins it.

  28. #28
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    1. I have searched.
    2. You don't have to read the "negative" crap. Click on the positive. I'm sure if this wasn't here, it would be replaced with something else "negative".
    3. Many here are my peers and mountain bikers appear to be very resourceful. This thread displays the diverse range of knowledge possessed by the people on this board.
    4. I'm not a computer geek. Things have been dumbed down to me on a consumer level and I am thankful.
    5. Sorry your own choice to click on this thread ruined your life and you don't have anything outside the virtual world to fill the void, such as real life mountain biking.

  29. #29
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    Or

    ..............you could just use a big magnet and pass it over the top of the drive and really wipe it clean FYI I'm dead serious, if you want to clear a HDD or any other drive that uses the same storage routine a big magnet will do the trick.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx
    ..............you could just use a big magnet and pass it over the top of the drive and really wipe it clean FYI I'm dead serious, if you want to clear a HDD or any other drive that uses the same storage routine a big magnet will do the trick.
    Scored a 4 on the "bogus meter"

  31. #31
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    burn a Linux boot disc, use its FDISK, and your problems will be solved...

    I previously used a Redhat boot CD to fix badly partitioned drives, but somewhere along the lines I lost it. I recently burned the Slackware image (I downloaded the whole 3gig distribution and put it on a DVD), and its FDISK (actually CFDISK) worked as well.

    The problem with the partition utility in Microsoft XP is that it probably limits what partition types it will manage (NTFS and FAT are all they care about). Linux (and in the old days OS/2) partition utils will let you specify any partition type that you'd like (there is a standard for their values, but that shouldn't be important if you're just deleting it).

    PartitionMagic can do the same thing, but it is $$$. I wouldn't risk downloading a warez copy from the net.

    If a Slackware/Linux FDISK can't remove it, I don't think anything will be able to.

    As for the NSA (et al.) multiple-pass deletes, those will probably only work on disks that have a drive letter in the operating system (and thus a recognized partition type like NTFS).

  32. #32
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    1) I'm not your sweetie

    2) You've admitted your knowledge of computers is limited, so why you'd post a message asking for help and then not listen to any of the advice is beyond me. I'd suggest you read up more on how disk storage actually works before you post more ignorant replies.

    The drive manufacturer utlities are free and WILL work if done properly. There is no such thing as a completely "hidden" partition. The "low-level" 0 fill disk erase with the MFG utility will wipe the entire drive....it works at a level below the partition level....so it will care less if it is a "hidden" partition.

  33. #33
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    Mentioning Linux brought up an idea-

    I have Linux terminals on campus. Can I plug the drive in by USB or 1394 and wipe it out on those?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Mentioning Linux brought up an idea-

    I have Linux terminals on campus. Can I plug the drive in by USB or 1394 and wipe it out on those?
    Maybe. Linux "terminal" or a Linux PC (server)? If the hard disk USB drivers are installed on that machine, and the hot-swap code is there to recognize it when you plug it is, then it should work.

    In general, FDISK will only be accessible to a root user in Linux though.

    If your PC will boot from your CD/DVD drive, and you have the ability to burn a disk and enough bandwidth to download an image, I'd just do it yourself on your own PC.

  35. #35
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    Check out
    http://www.slackware.com/install/bootdisk.php

    for instructions on creating a boot disk. I didn't see a link to the actual download image, but it should be around there somewhere.

  36. #36
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    Done. I now have plenty of options to go through.

    I'm first going to try the Linux terminals for the ease. If not, I'll do it from my laptop.

    Muddogg, sweetie, perhaps you should try out for the role of the computer guy on SNL?

    Surprising, but I actually like learning!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Done. I now have plenty of options to go through.

    I'm first going to try the Linux terminals for the ease. If not, I'll do it from my laptop.

    Muddogg, sweetie, perhaps you should try out for the role of the computer guy on SNL?

    Surprising, but I actually like learning!
    download a ms-dos bootdisk with FDISK here:
    http://www.bootdisk.com/

  38. #38
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    Thanks for all the help, friends.

    A friend referred me to CUTE partition utility. I was done in under 5 minutes, including install and removal tasks.

    Not a bad way to go. I was hoping to go the outboard route, but it seems all programs run the boot disk method in some way.

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