Running DBAN on a partition rather than an entire disk

How do I completely erase my PC?

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Running DBAN on a partition rather than an entire disk

Postby Robbie » Sun May 07, 2006 8:12 pm

I can remember a post (from a while ago) where someone once asked a question about how to determine that a particular partition that showed on DBAN matched a particular partition on the disk that was to be wiped. I'm sure someone replied that it wasn't always possible to determine this and that just wiping one partition wouldn't always mean that the partition you wished to be wiped, would be wiped.

My computer has 2 partitions, a manufacturers system recovery partition and the main (C) drive. As I was about to use DBAN anyway and had some time to kill, I decided to experiment and as I was fairly certain that the C drive would match with partition 2 on DBAN (call it an educated guess!), I gave that a quick erase (just enough to stop the OS loading). Sure enough, the OS failed to load, and I was able to access the System Restore function (residing in partition 1), to restore the OS. To be doubly certain I did this again, and again Partition 2 was the OS.

I then did a quick wipe of ALL the disk and then used the Restoration DVD from the computer manufacturer. Again, partition 2 was shown to be the partition that corresponded to the OS, with partition 1 the Recovery Partition. Another quick check before properly running DBAN showed partition 2 to match the OS partition of my disk.

Following this, I have 2 questions...

1. In future, if I wanted to just wipe partition 2 rather than the whole disk that shows on DBAN (ie leave partition 1 untouched), how certain could I be that partition 2 would always be the partition that contains the OS? Could the partitions showing on DBAN just "change" at random? Or could I be certain that partition 2 will always be the OS partition on my computer?

I do have the Restoration DVD but this method is quicker as it doesn't have to create a restore partition, format etc plus it is a quick way of cleaning the main partition if necessary, if a reinstallation of the OS is needed. This then puts less need on having to use the DVD, and therefore on causing damage to the DVD.

2. This isn't probably directly related to DBAN, but if I just wiped partition 2, could any data have "leaked" from partition 2 to partition 1? and therefore would be overlooked in any wipe? Or are partitions "locked tight"? Partition 1 is in the FAT32 File system, rather than NTFS (Partition 2). Plus as I would still be able to boot the computer (into the Restore partition, via the F10 key), is there anywhere else data could reside, that would be better wiped than preserved?

Thanks in advance for any answers.
Robbie
 
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Postby dajhorn » Mon May 08, 2006 8:24 pm

1. In future, if I wanted to just wipe partition 2 rather than the whole disk that shows on DBAN (ie leave partition 1 untouched), how certain could I be that partition 2 would always be the partition that contains the OS?

Mostly confident.

Could the partitions showing on DBAN just "change" at random?

No. The partition numbers that DBAN recognizes will be stable if the partition table remains intact between installations.

2. This isn't probably directly related to DBAN, but if I just wiped partition 2, could any data have "leaked" from partition 2 to partition 1?

Does the first partition appear in the disk manager? If not, then the risk of leakage is small. Also check whether the first partition is being used for swap space.

is there anywhere else data could reside, that would be better wiped than preserved?

Nothing comes to mind, but I've seen Microsoft Windows crap and bury data (like GUIDs) in unexpected places. Regardless, I recommend wiping the entire disk if you have time.
dajhorn
 
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Postby Robbie » Tue May 09, 2006 1:10 am

Thanks for the answers.

Partition 1 (the recovery partition) is listed in the Disk Manager. As the partition is little over 3GB in size, which doesn't add much time to a full disk wipe, and as it takes less than half an hour from inserting the Reinstallation/Recovery disk, through to the disk creating both a recovery and user partition, then unpacking the files etc and finally the "Welcome To Windows" screen appearing, it's probably just as easy, and a lot safer, data wise, to just keep doing a full disk wipe.
Robbie
 
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:18 pm
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