Lost Weekend — Darik’s Boot and Nuke

I got a hard drive from a friend who wanted me to get the data off it and then wipe it so she could donate her old computer to charity. On a recent episode of DL.TV (episode 165), they recommended Darik’s Boot and Nuke for doing Department-of-Defense-level drive wiping. I installed into that and loaded up interactive mode. I selected the drive to nuke and chose the Gutmann level wipe (27 passes). It was only a 1 GB drive so I figured it would take maybe an hour to do 27 passes. Not so. It said four hours or so remaining, so I rebooted and, this time, thought I’d do something which I usually don’t, which is to hit the F key to read the instructions. It said there something about the autonuke mode being the recommended mode for most people, so I typed in autonuke, hit return then watched in horror as it began wiping ALL FIVE of my HDDs at the same time! I quickly hit the power reset button, but it was too late. It can’t have been running for more than 2 seconds, but it was enough to kill BOTH my Windows installs.

The ironic thing is that I had planned to use my Saturday to do drive maintenance, so tidying out crap, removing duplicates, and, of course, taking a disk image of my Windows install. I figured I’d do the drive nuke first, since it was the least enjoyable job and involved plugging the drive into the motherboard (it wouldn’t work in the external USB enclosure for some reason). It would have made much more sense to take the disk image first, so I guess I went about things the wrong way. Thankfully I didn’t lose any data, but I did lose the weekend trying to recover the partition table and master boot record, before giving up and doing a reinstall.

Oh well, I had plenty of time to read my book whilst watching Active@ Partition Recovery scanning my disks. Not really a fun weekend though.

A Widow for One Year

John Irving I’m almost done with the reinstall — just a few more apps to install and my Backup4All to configure. It’s now actually a much neater system than it was, now that I’ve got my drive topography all sorted out and my Backup strategy worked out so it was kind of a blessing in a way. Once I’m done, I WILL take a disk image. I already took one of the fresh Windows install with all the patches, but I’ll take one of the fully operational system as well.