ComTech: IT Support Stirling
TwitterFacebookGoogle

What is the most innovative way you can think of to destroy a hard drive?


Something slightly different today.  I was talking to a fellow tech last week about the usual – tech issues, new gadgets on the market and so forth when the conservation got onto hard drives, specifically what is the most innovative way you know of to physically destroy a hard drive? So below is the list we came up with.

1. Whack it with a hammer.  This is a really good way to unwind after a stressful day in work and yes it does work.

2. Soak it in a sink full of washing up liquid.  Did this once to see if it would work and yes it does.

3. Run it over in the car.  Again the amount of damage an average car can do means the hard drive will never be used again.  The bigger the car the better!!

4. Shoot it with a gun (never tried this unfortunately but would guess a hard drive with a hole in it wouldn’t work again).

5. Install Windows on it (other guys suggestion and not mine!!)

6. Apply a magnet to the outside.

7. Flamethrower (this has been done by one guy I do know!!)

8. Use a grinder and turn it into dust.  This is a most satisfying way to destroy a hard drive having tried it once.

9. Drill a hole through the centre of the hard drive (works on the same principle as the gun method).

10. Drop it in a vat of acid.

That is what we came up with.  Do you have any ideas that we missed? If so please share!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

How to check the status of your hard drive using SeaTools


Today I will show you how to check the status of your hard drive.  There are tools built into Windows which will accomplish such tasks (eg chkdsk) however they are useless if you can’t boot into the system to use them.  For situations like this you need SeaTools.

Seatools is a diagnostic program that can be run from a CD and allows you to perform preconfigured tests on your hard drive.  For the purpose of this tutorial I will use SeaTools on a Windows 7 system which is hosted as a virtual machine within Virtualbox.

Ok first thing to do is download a copy of Seatools and burn it to a disk.  Now we shall boot the system with the disk to get the screenshot below.

Accept the license agreement to start the program.  Once started you should get the screenshot below.

Now highlight your hard drive and click on Basic Tests – Short Test.  The short test is usually sufficient to tell if your hard drive is experiencing issues.

Once the test has been carried out Seatools will show the test results on the right hand side under Test Results.

If the Test Result is Passed then you have no issues.  If however the result is Failed then you have a problem.  You can go back and try the Long Test which can sort out any bad sectors etc but in my experience if a hard drive fails the Short Test it needs replacing.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

How to format a hard drive on Ubuntu 12.04 using Fdisk


Today I will show you how to format a hard disk using Fdisk.  Fdisk comes already installed on most modern Linux distributions by default.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using Fdisk on Ubuntu 12.04 to format a 16Gb USB penstick with the ntfs file system.

First we need to see what our 16Gb USB penstick is mounted as so open up a terminal and type:

sudo fdisk -l

and type your password when prompted.  You should get a screenshot similar to the one below.

In this case my 16Gb USB penstick is mounted at /dev/sdc1.

Next type:

sudo fdisk /dev/sdc1

and you should get the command prompt shown below.

Now we need to check the existing partitions on the penstick so type:

p

to get the screenshot below.

Now we know what is on the drive it is time to delete it so type:

d

You will then be asked for the partition number (1-4).  In my case I have 4 partitions on the disk and I need to delete them all.  So I will type 1 and this will erase the 1st partition only.  I would then be left with partitions 2 – 4 and to remove these I would repeat the procedure until all the partitions have been erased.

We now need to set up the new partition so in your terminal type:

n

Because this is the first partition on the drive type:

p

You will now be asked for a partition number.  Choose 1 and then press return.  When asked to specify the First Sector choose the default by pressing Return.  Again accept the default Last Sector by pressing Return.

Now that the partition parameters have been specified we need to write them to the hard drive and we do that by typing:

w

All that is left to do is to make the filesystem on the hard drive and to do that we type:

sudo mkfs -t ntfs /dev/sdc1

Next time I will show you how to accomplish the same task using GParted (for those who like a GUI).

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

How to permanently delete data off a hard drive


Today I will show you how to permanently delete a file or hard drive so that data can not be recovered using data recovery tools. This comes in handy when you have sensitive data you need to get rid of.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using Linux Mint 17 (steps work on all Linux distributions) however if you have a Windows system boot the system with a Linux Live CD and mount the hard disk. This tutorial will show you how. Once this is done you can then use the steps outlined below.

To delete data securely we are going to use a tool called Shred.  Shred comes preinstalled on Linux so you don’t need to install it.  The following example will show you how it works.

Open up a terminal and create a file called test1 on your desktop by typing:

sudo touch /home/chris/Desktop/test1

Now we need to enter some data into the file so type:

sudo nano /home/chris/Desktop/test1

This will open up the file as shown below.  Enter whatever data you like into the file and then save and exit.

Now it is time to delete some data.  In your teminal type:

sudo shred /home/chris/Desktop/test1 

followed by:

nano /home/chris/Desktop/test1

As can be seen from the screenshot above Shred has completely scrambled all the data inside the file test1 making it unreadable.

All that is left is to delete the file so type:

sudo shred -u /home/chris/Desktop/test1

Shred will then overwrite the data 25 times with garbage while also renaming the file 11 times.  Your data is no gone.

To perform this operation on a hard drive you would open up a terminal and type the following:

sudo shred /dev/hda

where hda is your hard drive and /dev/hda is the mount point.  This would take some time to delete all the stuff on the drive so be patient.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

How to increase the size of your hard drive without losing any data


Finally got round to it.  I have managed to increase the size of my hard drive without losing any data.  This was accomplished by using Clonezilla and a newer 160Gb hard drive to replace my old 40Gb hard drive (remember those).  The way my system is set up is that the operating system (Linux Mint 12) sits on a nice little 40 Gb hard drive while all my files are located on a second 500 Gb hard drive.

The Plan

1. Change hard drives over to the bigger 160 Gb drive.

2. Do not lose any settings or programs (All my files are on the second hard drive and are safe)

3. Repartition the new drive to take into account the bigger size.

What happened?

1. I connected up the new 160 Gb hard drive while leaving the old one in place (it will be removed later).

2. The best tool I have come across to take an image is Clonezilla so I decided to use it. The existing Linux Mint 12 image on the 40 Gb hard drive was caught and saved on the 500 Gb drive (10 mins to image a 40Gb hard drive).  You can use this tutorial on how to use Clonezilla to take a system image.

3. I booted the system with the Clonzilla Live CD and restored the Linux Mint 12 image onto the new 160 Gb hard drive.  I then restarted the system and voila everything is there.  All my programs and settings have been copied across to the new hard drive.

4.  All that is left to do is use a Linux Mint Live CD to boot the system and use GParted to  repartition the new drive taking into account the extra space.  Now I had to delete the swap partition (remember the size) resize the system file partition and then recreate the swap partition again.

5. I now have my Linux Mint 12 operating system , with all my programs and settings, running on the new 160 Gb hard drive.  Lovely!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

Backup Strategies


Most people know about the need to backup your data but what is the best way to do it. Today we shall take a look at some different strategies and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Having a Server

Using a server to backup your data has long been established as a sound way to store your backups and for good reason – it keeps all your backups in one place and is easy to manage. You set up the scheduled backup and leave it to it.  It is not all rosy though.  There is the price of the windows software (unless you set up a Linux server) and if the server crashes you could use everything.

Pros – easy to manage, backups all in one place.

Cons – price of Windows software (although can be set up on Linux), backup is on site so if the building catches fire (for example) then you lose everything.

External USB hard drives

External hard drives are a good way to back up your data especially as they can be taken off premises (or at least placed away from the main system).  They are cheap too which makes them very attractive.  One big downside though is lack of automation.  Yes you can still schedule a backup on your computer but you need to remember to plug in your hard drive at the specified time.  If you have more than one system then this can take up valuable time. If you chose not to schedule a backup but instead do it manually, you have to remember to do it everyday and how many people would be able to remember that (yours truly included).

Pros – cheap, can be taken offsite.

Cons – not automated, brings the ‘human factor’ into the backup strategy where things get forgotten, can be lost.

DVD / CD

There was a time when everyone was using these (me included) but as amounts of storage increased the shear number of DVD’s / CD’s required to backup all your data just got huge.  For example it would take 24 DVD’s to backup 100Gb of data!!

Pros – cheap, can be taken off site.

Cons – numbers involved to backup your data will just become huge, can be scratched and lost, not automated either.

Cloud Storage

The cloud is one of the buzz words floating around the IT world at the moment and one of the main points is online storage.  You upload your data to servers located somewhere else in the world.  The main advantage of this approach is that your data is stored away from your premises.  You are able to access your data at any time and you save in hardware costs.  The main disadvantages are that that you would have no control about the security that your data will receive (although these companies will have loads of security protocols that they must follow) and the monthly subscription to keep your data safe.

Pros – no extra hardware or software costs, data is kept away from your premises, automated.

Cons – possible security issues, monthly subscription charges, someone else looking after your data

NAS boxes

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.  These are boxes which can hold two or more hard drives that are attached directly to your network.  They basically act like file servers without the expensive software costs.

Pros – relatively cheap, hard drives can be easily swapped and taken off site, backups can be automated.

Cons – additional hardware costs, if hard drives are not changed then your data is still on your premises.

So which one is best.  As usual it depends on what you are after and what your budget is.  I would recommend the following (remember this is just my professional opinion):

Business: Implement a NAS box but make sure that the hard drives are swapped either everyday (lots of data changes) or every couple of days (not a lot of changes).  Check outNovatech for deals on NAS boxes.

Home: Again you could use NAS boxes but I would be tempted with online storage coupled with external hard drives. This way your data is safely stored online but as I am paranoid about losing data I would still back up everything to an external hard drive (every couple of days or so) and store it in a different location within the house.  Check out dropbox for deals on online storage.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

Formatting a hard drive in Linux


Imagine the situation.  You are using Linux and you want to format a particular hard drive.  What tool would you use?  If you like GUI’s then the best tool to use would be GParted.  But what if you think that GUI’s are not your thing and you want to use the command line?  Then you want fdisk.

Ok here goes, open up a terminal and type su.  When prompted enter your root password.

Type fdisk /dev/device (where device is the ID of your hard drive you want to format eg sda)

Next you want to check for any existing partitions on the drive by pressing p.

You now want to delete any existing partitions by pressing d.

Press n to construct a new partition on the hard drive.

When you get the choice of specifying cyclinders use the default for first and last (unless you have a specific need to change them).

Now we need to write the partition to the disk and we do this by pressing w.

It is now time to make the filesystem on the partition.  First off though you have to choose the file system you want.  At the moment the best one to use in Linux is ext4.  If however you intend to use the hard drive with Windows at some point then use NTFS.

In your terminal type mkfs -t ext4 /dev/device (where device is the ID of your hard drive you want to format eg sda).

All that is left to do is mount the hard drive.  If the hard drive is an external one then it will be automatically mounted when you plug it in.  However if the drive is an internal IDE or SATA drive you will need to enter it into the fstab file which is covered here.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Mounting your hard drive in fstab

This tutorial will show you how to mount your hard drives in the fstab file used on all Linux systems.  The following commands were run on Linux Mint 11 but should still work on other systems.

Open up a terminal and type su.  When prompted enter your root password.

Next type gedit /etc/fstab.  This will open up the fstab file which is located in /etc using the text editor gedit.  You should get something which looks like the following:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# Use ‘blkid -o value -s UUID’ to print the universally unique identifier
# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name
# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
#
# <file system> <mount point> <type>  <options><dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid       0            0
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation

/dev/fd0   /media/floppy0 auto rw,user,noauto,exec,utf8 00      0
/dev/sdb1       /media/dev/sdb       auto       defaults           0             2
/dev/sdc1       /media/dev/sdc        auto       defaults           0             2


Now the entries that interest us are the final two for sdc1 and sdb1.  These are two internal hard drives that have been added to the system.

Before adding any entries you must first know what the hard drive is called.  Chances are if you are adding a second drive then it will be called sdb1 but to check type fdisk -l (as root).  Once you know you will then need to decide where to mount it.  Linux usually uses the /media directory to mount file systems but the choice is yours.

Once you have the required information copy the entry above for either sdb1 or sdc1 and replace /media/dev with your mount point and sdc1 / sdb1 with the name of your hard disk.  That’s it.  Reboot and your hard drive should now be recognised and mounted at boot.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

CyberChimps
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera
WP Like Button Plugin by Free WordPress Templates