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Windows 7: Removing Old Remains of Windows

31 May 2012   #1
TechN9Ne1730

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM
 
 
[Solved]Removing Old Remains of Windows

I have a hard drive that was once a boot drive for windows(vista?). However, I eventually switched boot drives and used a utility like unlocker to remove the system and/or system32 folder and any other windows related folders as the HDD had acumulated alot of data at that point and I had no avaliable way to store a back up of the data and format it. Now I am trying to install Debian(and of course grub) to a loan SSD(former boot drive that has been formated completley), but grub still detects that the 1TB was once used for windows because if I do an install of Debian and grub with only the SSD hooked up, it does not detect windows. How can I remove all traces of windows on my 1TB? Can I back up only the data to another HHD and format the HDD then restore data? Is it possible I simply need to delete or alter the mbr of the HDD?

I realize this is partially linux related but it is also partially windows related so I hope it is ok here. I also realize this may be vista related rather then 7 related but you guys offer the best windows support on the net imo. If this should be moved elsewhere on the forum, my apoligies for having posted in the wrong forum.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Jun 2012   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TechN9Ne1730 View Post
How can I remove all traces of windows on my 1TB? Can I back up only the data to another HHD and format the HDD then restore data? Is it possible I simply need to delete or alter the mbr of the HDD?
If there is any data on it, copy the data to some other drive.

I'd use Diskpart to clean it, using the "clean" command. Diskpart is part of Windows and can be accessed from Windows or from a Windows install disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #3
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

The first thing is being able to back up all the data and files you presently have left on the former host drive before nuking it entirely. If the amount is considerable an extra drive apart from the present Windows drive would be advised such another internal if not external HD.

Once you have everything you want from it a deletion of the present primary will remove any traces of the previous Windows installation there. The drive tools on the Vista or 7 dvd can easily delete or simply reformat the former C volume to clean it off entirely. In DiskPart once you have the volume selected you can enter "format fs=ntfs quick".

If you "delete partition" in DiskPart once the volume is selected you then simply type in "create partition primary" followed by the "format fs=ntfs quick" command. Then type assign if you want it to made an active partition with a drive letter assigned by Windows or wait until you go into the Disk Management later to right click on the new volume which can be created there as well to select the change drive letter option.

Once the drive is cleaned off and the new or reformatted primary is tended to you then have a new storage drive available.
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01 Jun 2012   #4
gregrocker

 

As stated move the data off the HD and wipe it with Diskpart Clean Command.

An OS is properly uninstalled by deleting it in Disk Mgmt, if necesary using Diskpart Delete Partition Override command, or to be even more thorough overwrite the boot code using Clean command.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #5
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

If you really are worried you could even download a freebie security tool like Eraser that will write binary zeros to the drive over and over while it is left running. That wouldn't be necessary for this however since simply deleting the primary will take care all OS files including the Vista BCD store and boot files.

Grub will only go where it is pointed to which by default is the drive where you install the distro to unless directed elsewhere by you. I install ubuntu or mostly Linux Mint Debian to larger flash drives where making the root partition the "mount point /" as well as seeing Grub installed to the removable device avoids trashing the 7 mbr!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #6
TechN9Ne1730

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM
 
 

Hey guys thanks for all the responses! After reading everything here, it seems the general idea is back up the data, format the hdd, restore data, and I should be good to go. However, I have noticed that the System Volume Information Folder is still present as is $RECYCLE.BIN. If I restore these and reinstall grub, then I am concerened that grub would simply pick up on these and once again believe windows is present.

The problem is, for clarification, grub picks up windows on the HDD but Debian and grub are installed on the SSD. When booting, grub does start but beyond that the system just hangs. I tested with only my SSD installed and it works fine but once the HDD is back in the mix grub loads but the system hangs of memorey serves me right.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #7
gregrocker

 

A cleaner method is to unplug all other HD's when installing an OS - especially one using GRUB - then after install boot it via the BIOS Boot Order or one-time BIOS Boot Menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #8
TechN9Ne1730

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
A cleaner method is to unplug all other HD's when installing an OS - especially one using GRUB - then after install boot it via the BIOS Boot Order or one-time BIOS Boot Menu.
I tried this again just to be sure, but I swore I tried this previously and it failed to boot sitting at a black screen with nothing more the a blinking cursor. However, for some reason, it worked fine this time. Well now to resolve problems with xorg..but guess I gotta head out of here for that problem. Keep up the good work guys and thanks for all the input!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #9
gregrocker

 

Good work.

You can mark the thread Solved at top when ready.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2012   #10
TechN9Ne1730

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 RTM
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Good work.

You can mark the thread Solved at top when ready.
For some reason I cant find that option in tapatalk(not sure why the tapatalk sig isnt showing up), so I manually editied the title for now.
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