two drives with windows installed

brewmeister1134

New Member
i have two hard drives on my CPU with windows installed on each one, however i have realized that if i remove the wire's that hook the original C drive to the motherboard the computer does not allow windows to boot from the E drive.(i just get a blank DOS screen)
i intend to use eraser on drive C and then reboot windows over it. transfer wanted files from drive E and then run eraser on drive E.
but because the computer will not boot windows straight from the E drive when the C drive is unplugged, i am worried that by running eraser on drive C i will make my computer unbootable.
can someone give me some practical advise on how to complete this task?
thank you. :?:
 

Joel

Active Member
Eraser shouldn't make your computer unbootable unless you erase every single file on the drive -- you areprobably looking for the unused space erasure. That's non-destructive.

Of course, I'm discounting hardware failure and the likes...
 

brewmeister1134

New Member
then how would i erase everything besides the boot files, windows included on the C drive? so then i can start over with a format and a brand new instillation of windows?
but still be able to boot up the computer and run from the windows installed on the E drive.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
brewmeister1134 said:
then how would i erase everything besides the boot files, windows included on the C drive? so then i can start over with a format and a brand new instillation of windows? ... but still be able to boot up the computer and run from the windows installed on the E drive.
I'm not sure quite why you want to keep the separate installation on the E: drive which complicates the issue somewhat. However, you could open the case, and remove (or disconnect) the E drive temporarily, then use Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), which has a separate forum on the Board, to erase drive C completely. You can then reconnect the E drive; you might need to change the BIOS settings to make it the bootable drive, and it will become drive C in Windows, which might be a nuisance. Also it must have a master boot record which refers to the Windows installation it contains, or it will not boot.

Another approach might be to use an imaging program to back up both drives to a separate - e.g. USB - drive (so you can get files or folders you might need back again), then use DBAN to clear both drives, so that you can start again. This is more work, but you usually get a better running Windows installation, and it gives you the opportunity to get rid of all the stuff that seems to accumulate over the years. Another variant on this theme (which might be what you want) would be
  1. Disconnect Drive E;
  2. Use DBAN to Clear Drive C;
  3. Install Windows on Drive C from the Windows install or computer recovery disk; you will need manufacturer's instructions on the latter;
  4. When the Windows installation is stable (drivers etc. are installed), reinstall Eraser;
  5. Connect the E drive;
  6. Copy any files you want to keep from the E Drive to the C: drive (or make a drive image so you can recover what you want);
  7. Erase the files then wipe the free space on the E drive.
If you prefer this approach, be warned that Windows Explorer has a little known but very bad habit of failing or even corrupting when copying very large numbers of files. For that kind of operation, I use the Microsoft SyncToy, or a drive imaging program as aforesaid.

If you don't fancy using DBAN (which some people, for understandable reasons, find pretty scary), and you have access to another computer and a USB hard drive caddy, put one of your drives in the caddy, install Eraser on the other computer, then connect the caddy and use Eraser first to erase the files on the drive, then clear the free space. If you leave the Windows installation on Drive E, the points I made in my first paragraph will also apply. You can also use this technique as a variant of the backup -> clear -> reinstall -> restore sequence I have outlined. It is also the best technique to use if you have a recovery partition on either drive that you wish to keep; if DBAN finds such a partition, it will happily 'nuke' it.

Whatever tool you you use, the process of erasing files then free space on a drive is very lengthy - many hours, even a whole day, is quite typical.

If anything doesn't make sense, please ask again.

David
 

brewmeister1134

New Member
DavidHB said:
It is also the best technique to use if you have a recovery partition on either drive that you wish to keep; if DBAN finds such a partition, it will happily 'nuke' it.

if i do decide to 'nuke' the entire drive can i create a recovery partition again from within windows after it is reinstalled? or do i have to create it from setup?

also do eraser and DBAN both work on the same principles? are they equally effective in removing and wiping data?
 

Joel

Active Member
brewmeister1134 said:
if i do decide to 'nuke' the entire drive can i create a recovery partition again from within windows after it is reinstalled? or do i have to create it from setup?
The Recovery partition from most OEMs are factory-preloaded, they can't be recreated from install. You'll need to prepare your own recovery media before you proceed with DBAN.

brewmeister1134 said:
also do eraser and DBAN both work on the same principles? are they equally effective in removing and wiping data?
Yes, they are. Just that Eraser works above the operating system, the file system and its drivers, DBAN works at a lower level.
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Joel said:
brewmeister1134 said:
if i do decide to 'nuke' the entire drive can i create a recovery partition again from within windows after it is reinstalled? or do i have to create it from setup?
The Recovery partition from most OEMs are factory-preloaded, they can't be recreated from install. You'll need to prepare your own recovery media before you proceed with DBAN.
This is very important. If you use DBAN, assume that it will find everything (connected) on your machine and 'nuke' it. I haven't, and will never have, done enough testing to know whether this is always true, but it is the only safe working assumption. AFAIK, the OS in DBAN is a tiny Linux implementation, and Linux typically can access the full range of partition types, which Windows cannot.

With due deference to Joel, recovery media may not always provide the answer. I have come across recovery media which do no more than provide a bootable disk which restores the machine to factory default condition from the recovery partition. While I can think of means to get round such a problem, it's not one you should create deliberately. So, unless you have imaging software that can backup and restore the (usually non-Windows) recovery partition as well as the hard drive, use Eraser rather than DBAN on a drive that contains a recovery partition, would be my advice.

David

P.S. If this is confusing, it's because it is a response to the post below; I have my time zone set correctly in my user profile, but the difference between mine and Joels is somehow not recognised.
 

Joel

Active Member
DavidHB said:
This is very important. If you use DBAN, assume that it will find everything (connected) on your machine and 'nuke' it. I haven't, and will never have, done enough testing to know whether this is always true, but it is the only safe working assumption. AFAIK, the OS in DBAN is a tiny Linux implementation, and Linux typically can access the full range of partition types, which Windows cannot.
That's a safe assumption, but I have been able to selectively nuke my drives... I guess, it's really up to who's using the software. but for the majority of people, yes, I would suggest that.

DavidHB said:
With due deference to Joel, recovery media may not always provide the answer. I have come across recovery media which do no more than provide a bootable disk which restores the machine to factory default condition from the recovery partition. While I can think of means to get round such a problem, it's not one you should create deliberately. So, unless you have imaging software that can backup the (usually non-Windows) recovery partition as well as the hard drive, use Eraser rather than DBAN on a drive that contains a recovery partition, would be my advice.
Indeed -- then again, I usually ensure my recovery media works as I think it would before I kill my drive.
 
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