Let's Play Identify the Boot Partition Solved

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  1.    21 Apr 2018 #1

    Let's Play Identify the Boot Partition


    Returning a system to the manufacturer. Want to wipe the non-boot partition of the systems’s solid state C: drive. Initially understood that the Western Digital (Caviar) drive was partitioned in two with one section devoted to booting W10 and the remainder left for ordinary storage. Intend to use PartedMagic program to “zero write” (overwrite) the storage section of the drive while leaving the boot section in tact. Actually, PartedMagic seems to’ve detected what appears to be maybe three (3) partitions on the drive. Those detected are:

    sdb4: ntfs 930.9G, (ATA WDC WDS 100T2B0A-)

    sdb3: ntfs 500M, (ATA WDC WDS 100T2B0A-)

    sdb1: fat32 100M, (ATA WDC WDS 100T2B0A-)

    The hope is someone in this forum might know which of these should be preserved as the boot dedicated partition and which is/are the storage partition(s) that need to be overwritten. Confusion has stemmed from seeing in the BIOS that it appears it is using a drive (first in line) to boot W10 labelled with the following:

    UEFI Hard Disk: Windows Boot Manager (P3: WDC WDS 100T2B0A-OOSM50)

    The “P3” in the label could correlate with partition “sdb3”, but the “sbd1” at only 100M would seem the smallest partition and the one most likely to be the boot partition. Is there anyone who can save me from screwing-up? It’d be good to be able to return the system with W10 and its product registration in tact, but I want to be sure that ordinary mortals won’t be able to retrieve the data that I had written to the non-boot section of the drive. Thanks if you can help to identify the boot partition.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 12,336
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1809
       21 Apr 2018 #2

    Hi Dense.

    If you might just post a standard disk management shot members should be able to identify where data lies.

    Disk Management - How to Post a Screenshot of

    It also depends how your data was moved, did they move or did they set up for you to move.

    If you could right click on Documents library, left Properties, left Location Tab, where does it say documents are located? There is another process where they may have moved entire User folder but I've never seen a vendor do it.

    We should also be able to see from disk management posting if a data partition is being used as your data should be using up space.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  3. Posts : 22,894
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       21 Apr 2018 #3

    Consider the following:
    1) clean the disk using diskpart or
    2) clean the disk using a Windows 10 iso > delete partitions > make an unallocated drive
    3) then make the disk pass government security regulations > either disk sanitizer or secure erase or similar firmware/software (HD versus SSD)
    4) reinstall the Windows 10 operating system using the Windows 10 iso
    5) return the computer to the manufacturer as a bootable computer with an operating system
    6) an additional option is to move the drive to another computer or use a hard drive enclosure > clean the drive > overwrite the drive > reinstall the Windows 10 operating system using a Windows 10 iso.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    21 Apr 2018 #4

    Disk Management Snip


    Thanks for replying Caledon Ken,

    I'm sorry. I'm uncertain what you're referring to when you write about "moving data". I've backed-up all my data on the system I'm returning, transferred that data to drives in an older, separate computer and then deleted all programs, restore points and data from the system that is to be returned. As you requested, I've attached a snip of the returning system's disk management display.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Dense; 21 Apr 2018 at 16:23.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    21 Apr 2018 #5

    ISO Ignorant


    Thank you for replying zbook,

    I'd love to consider your suggestions, but I don't refer to myself as Dense for nothing:

    1) clean the disk using diskpart or I'm assuming diskpart is an app, but I'm unfamiliar with it
    2) clean the disk using a Windows 10 iso > delete partitions > make an unallocated drive
    I'm sorry, but I'm woefully ignorant of making ISOs, have only deleted a few partitions long ago and don't know what an unallocated drive is.
    3) then make the disk pass government security regulations > either disk sanitizer or secure erase or similar firmware/software (HD versus SSD) I surmise again that disk sanitizer is an app that I've never been exposed to, don't know a thing about secure erase and am only vaguely aware of government security wipes from general reading.
    4) reinstall the Windows 10 operating system using the Windows 10 iso Process I've never done.
    5) return the computer to the manufacturer as a bootable computer with an operating system
    6) an additional option is to move the drive to another computer or use a hard drive enclosure > clean the drive > overwrite the drive > reinstall the Windows 10 operating system using a Windows 10 iso. The system I'm returning has to go back with all its components. I like the gist of your recommendations, but all I have is a gist. Unless you'd be willing to painstakingly walk me through the steps, I can only offer my gratitude for your kind attempt to help. Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,877
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       21 Apr 2018 #6

    2. An .iso file is downloaded and used to create exact duplicates of the original disc by a suitable program when the source disc is not available.

    4. Use the process in #2. The DVD is bootable and will start the process when starting the computer.

    3. The type of data on the drive/s determines how securely it needs wiping or how paranoid a person is, I use the downloadable GPARTED .iso file to create the bootable CD-R disc.

    5. Check the software on the computer for a program included by the maker/OEM for creating the reinstall/factory restore discs. There is a System Reset feature in Win10 that will allow deleting or saving files or wiping the drive before reinstalling, look in Start, Settings, Updates & Security.

    6. Try the others first, mainly so you don't lose the ability to do them when doing #6 which relies upon having a disc or USB Thumb drive to finish the process.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 22,894
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       21 Apr 2018 #7

    For people that work as government employees they may want to upgrade or dispose of their old computers.
    There are regulations in place that employees must meet to properly dispose of their disks/drives.
    The government employee situation was mentioned as there are computer manufacturers that sell a lot of computers to governments. So they install firmware in the BIOS so that end users can click buttons to sanitize the drives and meet the government regulations.
    For non-government employees its up to the individual how to dispose of their old disks.
    In your case you are returning a drive to a computer manufacturer.
    They may have policies in place on what they do with used disks.
    For most people a clean install deletes important files.
    It leaves behind files that can be recovered by forensics but that consumes time and money.

    This tutorial has information about clean install Windows:
    Clean Install Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials
    Download Windows 10

    Diskpart is part of the Windows operating system. This tutorial has information about using diskpart to clean the disk/drive:
    Erase Disk using Diskpart Clean Command in Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials

    The easiest option that was not in the earlier post is to perform a step nearly equivalent to a clean install.
    That is a windows 10 restore with remove files.
    This is accomplished using the computer's Windows advanced troubleshooting menu.
    See option #1 in this link:
    Reset Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    21 Apr 2018 #8

    Thank you Berton for adding in. As is the case with many new systems of late, they come without optical drives. The new system I want to return (graphics card issue) is one that has no optical drive, so everything has to rely on flash drives/thumb drives. Bootable cd discs are of no help, and being the moron that I am, I have only a passing acquaintance with creating a bootable flash drive. I'll have to read up some on making bootable flash drives and see if I can dovetail that into your suggestions. My paranoia is about the financial data that was on the SSD. It's only been deleted and now needs to be scrubbed, shredded, whatever to make it really difficult to retrieve.

    2. An .iso file is downloaded and used to create exact duplicates of the original disc by a suitable program when the source disc is not available.

    4. Use the process in #2. The DVD is bootable and will start the process when starting the computer.

    3. The type of data on the drive/s determines how securely it needs wiping or how paranoid a person is, I use the downloadable GPARTED .iso file to create the bootable CD-R disc.

    5. Check the software on the computer for a program included by the maker/OEM for creating the reinstall/factory restore discs. There is a System Reset feature in Win10 that will allow deleting or saving files or wiping the drive before reinstalling, look in Start, Settings, Updates & Security.

    6. Try the others first, mainly so you don't lose the ability to do them when doing #6 which relies upon having a disc or USB Thumb drive to finish the process.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 12,336
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1809
       22 Apr 2018 #9

    Hi Dense.

    Could you please right click on Documents, left click on Properties, left click on the Location tab and tell us what it says.

    Should be something like

    c:\Users\Dense\Documents

    I'm not sure how much of a rush you are in but one simple way to accomplish this.

    You said you deleted everything now please ensure recycle bin is empty.

    Create a new user on your system, local, with admin rights. When you first create user it will be a standard user, you must change this to administrator.

    Sign into that new user and delete you old user account. Use option 1 in this tutorial.

    Delete User Account in Windows 10

    Download CCCleaner. Within tools they have a feature to wipe free disk space. Wipe the free space on C: and D:. Just the FREE space.

    A single pass will take sometime.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    22 Apr 2018 #10

    To Caledon Ken


    Hey Caledon Ken,

    ...right click on Documents, left click on Properties, left click on the Location tab and tell us what it says.

    Yes, as expected it shows that Documents are to be stored in C:\Users\Dense\Documents. Don't know why you wanted to know that, but be it confirmed that that is what Windows reports.

    You said you deleted everything now please ensure recycle bin is empty.

    Yes, the recycle bin was emptied when all personally created data was deleted from the system that's slated for return. A recheck also confirmed that the recycle bin is empty. All restore points have also been nixed.

    Create a new user on your system, local, with admin rights. When you first create user it will be a standard user, you must change this to administrator.

    Not sure why you want this, but my personal user account was created with Administrator rights. Navigating to User Accounts shows my one and only user account bearing my name and underneath my name it shows Local Account and Administrator. I’m assuming that is how you want it to be.

    Sign into that new user and delete you old user account. Use option 1 in this tutorial.

    If I try to create a circumstance where there is no user account other than that of just one Administrator account and no other user accounts, it seems problems begin to arise. From some reading on-line it seems there may be no way to sign-in just as Administrator. See: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-u So, I hope my personal user account with administrative rights is good enough.

    Download CCCleaner. Within tools they have a feature to wipe free disk space. Wipe the free space on C: and D:. Just the FREE space.

    I’ve been a CCleaner user for a few years. As a matter of fact I’ve already run CCleaner’s wipe (7 passes) on the regular/mechanical 2T drive (D) in the system slated for return. It literally took two days of constant running to complete. I’m not convinced yet that CCleaner’s wipe is sufficient enough though, nor do I know whether the MagicPart program I wanted to use initially is any better at zero writing than CCleaner.

    Bottomline though, back to my original query - Which of the partitions on the solid state drive (C) is the one that holds the W10 OS?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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