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erasing hard disk in legacy Macs

 
 
scribbler38
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      07-28-2005, 04:15 PM
I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.

I found a suggestion online that suggests you can find your way to disk
utilities on Mac installer CDs that will allow you to wipe a drive, but
I can't get the Mac to boot from the CDs (I have both OS9 and OS10
disks). I'm holding down the C key upon bootup to no avail.

Strangely, when the system boots up fully to OS 7.6, the OS9 or OSX
installer CDs come up only with a file called "Why Can't I Find My
Files," or something similar, explaining that the CD cannot be read
without upgrading the OS. Okay fine--but how can I upgrade the OS if
the system can't read the installation CDs of the newer OS?

Though this is a head-scratcher to me, I really don't care whether the
system gets upgraded or not. All I want to do is erase the hard disks!
(I'd simply yank the hard drives and wipe them on a PC except for the
fact that the Mac hard drives are SCSI, and the PCs I have available
are all IDE-based, sigh).

Any ideas as to how the disk erasure could actually be accomplished?

Thanks in advance--
scrib

 
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Tim Streater
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      07-28-2005, 04:23 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
"scribbler38" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.
>
> I found a suggestion online that suggests you can find your way to disk
> utilities on Mac installer CDs that will allow you to wipe a drive, but
> I can't get the Mac to boot from the CDs (I have both OS9 and OS10
> disks). I'm holding down the C key upon bootup to no avail.
>
> Strangely, when the system boots up fully to OS 7.6, the OS9 or OSX
> installer CDs come up only with a file called "Why Can't I Find My
> Files," or something similar, explaining that the CD cannot be read
> without upgrading the OS. Okay fine--but how can I upgrade the OS if
> the system can't read the installation CDs of the newer OS?


Probably around here the filesystem was changed from HFS to HFS+. The
"why can't I find my files" file should explain this. The system on the
machines you have cannot read the CDs. Looks like they cannot boot OS9
CDs, either. What model are they?

I think you can download OS 7.5.5 or so from the Apple web site which
might allow you to make a boot floppy containing just the disk utility
program which would permit you to reformat the disks.

-- tim
 
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scribbler38
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      07-28-2005, 05:41 PM
The models are a PowerMac 7200. I'm assuming that 7.6 was the original
OS that came installed on the machine.

Downloading 7.5.5 to make a boot floppy sounds like a great idea, or at
least one I haven't tried yet ;-) Thanks for the suggestion--I'll give
it a whirl.

scrib

 
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Hans Aberg
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      07-28-2005, 07:15 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
"scribbler38" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.


> Though this is a head-scratcher to me, I really don't care whether the
> system gets upgraded or not. All I want to do is erase the hard disks!


If you merely want that the old information should not be recoverable,
erasing wouldn't do, as it will merely be marked no in use, but you would
have to reformat the hard disk completely. Alternatively, you can remove
all pertinent information, take a sizable folder with no important
information, and duplicate or some suitable subdirectory, until the hard
disk has been filled out pretty well. Then you have overwritten most
information at least once, and can remove the directory. I think for a
complete wipeout, the old information should be overwritten at least three
times, though.

--
Hans Aberg
 
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Tom Stiller
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      07-28-2005, 10:19 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) (Hans Aberg) wrote:

> In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
> "scribbler38" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> > hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> > to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> > original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.

>
> > Though this is a head-scratcher to me, I really don't care whether the
> > system gets upgraded or not. All I want to do is erase the hard disks!

>
> If you merely want that the old information should not be recoverable,
> erasing wouldn't do, as it will merely be marked no in use, but you would
> have to reformat the hard disk completely. Alternatively, you can remove
> all pertinent information, take a sizable folder with no important
> information, and duplicate or some suitable subdirectory, until the hard
> disk has been filled out pretty well. Then you have overwritten most
> information at least once, and can remove the directory. I think for a
> complete wipeout, the old information should be overwritten at least three
> times, though.


Using Disk Utility, select the device (not the named partition) and
choose "Erase". Depending on what version you have you will have
options for "secure erase", including free space, or writing zeros to
all blocks. Either option will take a long time and neither will make
the data unavailable to a high tech data recovery process, but unless
you've got some super valuable data on the drive, the cost of recovering
it will outweigh any potential gain.

--
Tom Stiller

PGP fingerprint = 5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3
7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF
 
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Hans Aberg
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-28-2005, 11:36 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Tom Stiller <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Using Disk Utility, select the device (not the named partition) and
> choose "Erase". Depending on what version you have you will have
> options for "secure erase", including free space, or writing zeros to
> all blocks. Either option will take a long time and neither will make
> the data unavailable to a high tech data recovery process, but unless
> you've got some super valuable data on the drive, the cost of recovering
> it will outweigh any potential gain.


There used to be a Disk Utility plus a mini-Mac OS fitting on a diskette.
This way, also the hard disk on a computer without a CD-drive can be
reformatted. (Erase with writing to zeroes is perhaps the best option.)

--
Hans Aberg
 
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Al
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-29-2005, 01:16 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) (Hans Aberg) wrote:

> In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
> "scribbler38" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> > hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> > to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> > original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.

>
> > Though this is a head-scratcher to me, I really don't care whether the
> > system gets upgraded or not. All I want to do is erase the hard disks!

>
> If you merely want that the old information should not be recoverable,
> erasing wouldn't do, as it will merely be marked no in use, but you would
> have to reformat the hard disk completely. Alternatively, you can remove
> all pertinent information, take a sizable folder with no important
> information, and duplicate or some suitable subdirectory, until the hard
> disk has been filled out pretty well. Then you have overwritten most
> information at least once, and can remove the directory. I think for a
> complete wipeout, the old information should be overwritten at least three
> times, though.


I use a StuffIt utility called "Secure Delete." It overwrites the data
with ones and zeros a couple of times. Most will not be able to recover
any data that might be on there.

On my computer, I don't use the trash, I only use "Secure Delete" to
dispose of my files.

Al
 
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Cathy Stevenson
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-29-2005, 10:05 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
scribbler38 <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.
>
> I found a suggestion online that suggests you can find your way to disk
> utilities on Mac installer CDs that will allow you to wipe a drive, but
> I can't get the Mac to boot from the CDs (I have both OS9 and OS10
> disks). I'm holding down the C key upon bootup to no avail.


There is a floppy "boot disk" for OS 7.5. You should be able to
reformat after booting from it. It is called "Network Access"
and can be found at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~gamba2/bootdisks.html

There is also a 7.6 disk utility disk at the same site.

Cathy

--
"there's a dance or two in the old dame yet." - mehitabel

C.Stevenson, M.D.
(E-Mail Removed)
 
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Isaac Wingfield
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-30-2005, 04:13 AM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Al <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> (E-Mail Removed) (Hans Aberg) wrote:
>
> > In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
> > "scribbler38" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >
> > > I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> > > hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> > > to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> > > original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.

> >
> > > Though this is a head-scratcher to me, I really don't care whether the
> > > system gets upgraded or not. All I want to do is erase the hard disks!

> >
> > If you merely want that the old information should not be recoverable,
> > erasing wouldn't do, as it will merely be marked no in use, but you would
> > have to reformat the hard disk completely. Alternatively, you can remove
> > all pertinent information, take a sizable folder with no important
> > information, and duplicate or some suitable subdirectory, until the hard
> > disk has been filled out pretty well. Then you have overwritten most
> > information at least once, and can remove the directory. I think for a
> > complete wipeout, the old information should be overwritten at least three
> > times, though.

>
> I use a StuffIt utility called "Secure Delete." It overwrites the data
> with ones and zeros a couple of times. Most will not be able to recover
> any data that might be on there.
>
> On my computer, I don't use the trash, I only use "Secure Delete" to
> dispose of my files.


You can also get a "secure delete" in the suite of PGP utilities. Public
domain, too.

Isaac
 
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Carl Witthoft
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-30-2005, 07:40 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Isaac Wingfield <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> Al <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> > (E-Mail Removed) (Hans Aberg) wrote:
> >
> > > In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
> > > "scribbler38" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > >
> > > > I have inherited a number of antiquated Macs (running OS 7.6), whose
> > > > hard disks I need to erase prior to donating them to an "old computers
> > > > to third world countries" program. I do not, alas, have any of the
> > > > original 7.6 OS disks, nor do I have OS 8 disks.


> > On my computer, I don't use the trash, I only use "Secure Delete" to
> > dispose of my files.

>
> You can also get a "secure delete" in the suite of PGP utilities. Public
> domain, too.
>
> Isaac


Secure Delete and the like are insufficient. They will not delete files
that you can't get at in the first place. One example: the
VirtualMemory swap file. I've investigated -- the VMfile contains all
sorts of nasty stuff you never imagined would be stored, like cleartext
passwords. The problem is that this file is not only invisible but
locked when you've got virtual memory enabled, AND it doesn't exist (so
far as the Mac OS is concerned) when you have virtual memory disabled.
However, the data remain on the drive and the only way I know of to kill
it off, save a full disk format, is to use Norton's Erase Free Space
(with virtual memory disabled of course) or equivalent tools.
 
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