cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

REcycling an old Win XP computer

FIXED
the_groundsman
Rising Star
Posts: 492
Thanks: 24
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2007

REcycling an old Win XP computer

Hi

I've been asked to dispose of am old Win XP tower PC. I need to clean the hard drive. I thought I had some old XP installation CDs but I chucked them out thinking I'd never need them again. There's no recovery partition to access either. I'd have taken the HDDs out and put them in a caddy to clean them that way but they are IDE and I don't have that interface. 

Is there a good way of doing this using a linux live CD ?

Sorry Linux isn't really my thing but I will follow clear instructions.

 

Would appreciate some help Smiley

18 REPLIES 18
jab1
Legend
Posts: 17,073
Thanks: 5,466
Fixes: 254
Registered: ‎24-02-2012

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman I don't think they need 'cleaning' - personally, I'd just take a lump-hammer to them.

John
MisterW
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 14,750
Thanks: 5,522
Fixes: 394
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman  if you really want to leave it intact but 'clean' then I'd use the systemrescue live CD https://www.system-rescue.org/Download/

Its got shred, wipe and nwipe included https://www.system-rescue.org/manual/Secure_Deletion_of_Data/

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman 

If you were to boot into a live Linux environment from a flash drive (or DVD)

It is likely that if there is only one XP physical drive, then the HDD will probably be identified as device "/dev/sda"

If you open a terminal window and type the following command -

 

 

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=1 status=progress

 

 

... that will write binary zero's from start to end of the drive surface

Baldrick1
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11,700
Thanks: 5,203
Fixes: 418
Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

Fix

@the_groundsman 

Hitting them with a hammer sounds easy but some of these old discs are housed in very solid cases. Personally I always take the actual platters out and destroy them individually, there can be several. You’ll be surprised how tough some are, others shatter so care is required. There’s also some very powerful magnets that can be useful.

Moderator and Customer
If this helped - select the Thumb
If it fixed it,  help others - select 'This Fixed My Problem'

bmc
Hero
Posts: 3,256
Thanks: 1,029
Fixes: 49
Registered: ‎28-02-2017

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman 

When you say "dispose" of a tower PC are you talking about scraping or re-cycling it?

 

If the latter then a data clense is all you need leaving the XP operating system in place. There might be a buyer for the PC with XP - if not then they could install Linux. Alternatively you could install Linux which I think re-formats the entire drive.

 

Brian

 

 

HPsauce
Pro
Posts: 7,006
Thanks: 149
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

Like @Baldrick1 my method of secure erasure is to dismantle the drives and apply serious damage to the platter(s) inside.

Most drives are quite easy to take apart with a  few appropriate (usually Torx) drivers.

Even if the system itself is to be repurposed you probably want to destroy the hard drive and replace it, possibly with an SSD.

the_groundsman
Rising Star
Posts: 492
Thanks: 24
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2007

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

Thanks for all the helpful comments. I'm doing this for a friend and they asked for a clean up but actually they just want the giant thing out of their life. Having a look in the Bios, booting from floppy, cd and HDD are all that's available, so that explains why trying to boot from flash or dvd fails. I have no blank  cds to hand.

 

Amazingly one of the people in my little village has some XP installation cds so I'll give that a go before going down the route of trying to dismantle the drives. 

Baldrick1
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11,700
Thanks: 5,203
Fixes: 418
Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman 

I’m a little confused what you will do with the installation disks? How are they used to securely wipe a disk? 

Moderator and Customer
If this helped - select the Thumb
If it fixed it,  help others - select 'This Fixed My Problem'

the_groundsman
Rising Star
Posts: 492
Thanks: 24
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2007

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

If I remember right, the installation cd loads in ram and includes a few utilities, including the ability to format the drives. Pretty sure I checked that recently but I may be wrong. It's been years since I touch XP.

Does that sound crazy then?

Would have preferred to run a live Linux distro and clean up the drives that way but struggling to find a way to do that.

If necessary I will be going down the physical distruction route
shutter
Community Veteran
Posts: 22,218
Thanks: 3,777
Fixes: 65
Registered: ‎06-11-2007

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman  You  can burn a linux distro using WIndows to a CD ROM 

scroll down a bit to the second option on this link

https://tutonics.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bootable-live-cddvd/

I would suggest earlier version of Linux Mint...  12 or 14..( both are 32 bit ) ...( current version is 21.3 .) for smaller size .iso file

Here is a link to download and install Mint 14.

https://www.getmyos.com/linux-mint-14-nadia

Download button is on the right above the Description title . ! .

After download, and burn to cdrom...  insert the CDROM... boot up the machine... and boot to the cdrom.

it should then "run" and evntually give you a "desktop" with LM in the middle of screen.... you should be able to use the cdrom to do an install on the hdd... one of the options will be to "wipe the entire drive" (or similar) and install Linux Mint" .

 

 

 

 

Baldrick1
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11,700
Thanks: 5,203
Fixes: 418
Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman 

I assumed that you wanted to securely wipe the disks, not just reformat ithem.

Moderator and Customer
If this helped - select the Thumb
If it fixed it,  help others - select 'This Fixed My Problem'

the_groundsman
Rising Star
Posts: 492
Thanks: 24
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2007

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

I was tasked with safely getting rid of the pc. I thought a full format of the HDD would be secure but may be not. Thanks for your advice.

I'll try dismantling now. There's nothing too sensitive on the machine AFAIK but there's no benefit in taking a risk of data being recovered from it
Baldrick1
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11,700
Thanks: 5,203
Fixes: 418
Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

@the_groundsman 

With a full format the data is not removed from the disk and can be recovered with the appropriate software tools and patience. Wiping involves writing over every data cell on the disk, ideally with 0s and1s. This is sometimes repeated several times when wiping sensitive data. This process can take many hours for just a single pass.

Moderator and Customer
If this helped - select the Thumb
If it fixed it,  help others - select 'This Fixed My Problem'

MartinGoose
Grafter
Posts: 36
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎08-10-2010

Re: REcycling an old Win XP computer

I use Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN)

<https://dban.org/>