Getting rid of Windows XP

All Gurus once were Newbies
Forum rules
There are no such things as "stupid" questions. However if you think your question is a bit stupid, then this is the right place for you to post it. Please stick to easy to-the-point questions that you feel people can answer fast. For long and complicated questions prefer the other forums within the support section.
Before you post please read this

Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby jbwiden on Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:19 pm

Hello,

I was given a 1Ghz, 128MB Ram Sony Vaio. It has serious software issues and will not boot. It hangs and reads: NTLDR is missing. I hope this is not much of a problem because I do not care about having windows on this machine, Is there any way to wipe windows out completely and start fresh with Linux Mint? I have tried using the Live CD, I can get to the screen where i select the installation method but it locks up after one is selected, I also have 256MB more ram coming.

Thanks,
Josh
jbwiden
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:50 am

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby McLovin on Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:02 pm

I would suggest wait for your ram to come, and then try again, 128 megs is very low, but it is doable, you may also want to look at the Mint XFCE Community Edition, lower resource requirements, and would run well on that systems specs.
User avatar
McLovin
Level 5
Level 5
 
Posts: 788
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:53 pm

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby jbwiden on Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:16 pm

Thanks,
I am downloading the Mint XFCE Community Edition now.

Josh
jbwiden
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:50 am

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:54 pm

jbwiden,

I have an unusual suggestion for you. Since you acquired this notebook from someone else and don't really know its' history, and you want to get rid of Windows, I would zero the drive. There is really no telling what is on the drive.

There are a couple viruses/worms, at least, that use the mbr/partition table, are very tenacious, and that formatting can't get rid of. I once worked on an XP machine and set up a dual boot for him. After about two weeks it would quit booting, and show a corrupted partition table. I reformatted and reloaded the OS's 3 times before I figured it out.

Part of the virus, at least the one that I encountered, was located in a "hole" in the XP code. That's to say that if you had a blank drive and you had a small amount of code placed on just the right places on the drive, and then you loaded Windows XP on top of it the 1's and 0's of the original code would not be disturbed. Formatting and partitioning doesn't erase the drive, It just sets up the partition and file system tables.

This particular infection put a "stub" in the partition table that activated the code when the machine booted into Windows, it's own little boot loader you might say. Windows apparently had some of the virus code in it also. When I partitioned and installed Linux, it over wrote the stub. After Windows was booted a certain number of times the virus would rewrite the stub to the partition table. That in turn corrupted the partition table and neither Grub nor the Windows loader would work, once again.

There may be, and probably are, some commercial Windows programs that can find and fix this problem, but the only way I know to get rid of it for sure is to use the "dd" command and Zero the drive. This, of course, destroys all the information on the drive, including the mbr and partition table.

To do this, use a Linux live cd like Knoppix, DSL, or I prefer, Puppy Linux. With the hard drive in question mounted, open a terminal and sudo or as root, depending on the linux live cd involved, type:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdx or sdx

Be careful with this. This process is irreversible and unrecoverable. All data on the drive will be destroyed.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby jbwiden on Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:39 pm

That Sounds like a good option, are there any drawbacks besides for permanently losing all the data(which is not a concern at all). This computer actually has two hard drives, would there be another command that is needed to do this on both drives? After the drives have been zeroed, should Linux install with no further complications? I am a complete newb regarding Linux, would the puppy distro that you mentioned be more suitable for me than Mint? Or should I use it to simply zero the drive then put Mint on the computer.

Much appreciated,
Josh
jbwiden
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:50 am

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:06 pm

jbwiden,

Puppy linux makes a good backup system or tool kit. It is a small linux distro that will run completely in ram. This makes it very fast compared to a full sized live cd. In my opinion, I would not install it to the hard drive. Just use it as a tool kit.

Below is the link to the version I am now using. It is only 155 MB.

http://tmxxine.com/Wikka/wikka.php?wakk ... xxineShard

If you want to do the same to your second drive it won't hurt anything but it is more important to do it to the boot drive. Of course you don't know if the second drive has ever been used as the boot drive either... so use your on judgment.

In the command I gave you substitute the appropriate drive info. example.... sdx = sda or sdb or what ever.

Mint is a much better choice to run as a day to day system. As I said Puppy makes a good took kit or back-up utility system, but just isn't appropriate as a hard drive install, primary system, in my opinion.

I would do as McLovin suggested and wait for the additional ram. Otherwise, I wouldn't expect any other issues. Of course laptops can are problematic at times, so no guarantees. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby jbwiden on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:14 pm

I am downloading Puppy Linux now
And by the way, It is actually a desktop pcv-lx810
Thanks,
Josh
jbwiden
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:50 am

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:30 pm

jbwiden,

Puppy runs in root all the time, which is another reason not to do a hard drive install and use as a primary system. But it does make it convenient to use as a tool kit.

On the desktop you will see several icons. I think it is the last one from the top. Called files, or drives or something like that. It will open a window that shows all your drives and partitions that you can mount or edit as you wish. Poke around. It is a bit different from Windows but pretty simple to figure out what does what.

You will have to manually configure the networking if you want to get on the net, but the wizard makes it easy to do.

Fred

EDIT: When you log out, choose not to save the session.
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby jbwiden on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:45 pm

While Puppy is loading(My connection speed is very slow today), I tried running Mint XFCE Community Edition,It seems to work, I have been able to get to the desktop but I do not think I am going to go through with the install, instead I will Zero the drives using puppy and then wait for more RAM to use the main edition.

Josh
jbwiden
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:50 am

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:55 pm

jbwiden,

Sounds like a reasonable plan to me. It probably isn't necessary to zero the drives, since you are not going to use Windows. Most likely anything bad will be overwritten by Linux or won't affect Linux, but I tend to be conservative. I was just telling you what I would do if it were me. I just think it is best to start off with a nice clean system.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby MagnusB on Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:36 am

How about the boot n nuke CD? http://dban.sourceforge.net/
Not only has it a cool name, it securely nukes your hard drive, but I am not sure about MBR though..
Image
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
--Dean Martin
MagnusB
Level 6
Level 6
 
Posts: 1255
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:39 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:40 pm

MagnusB,

I really can't comment on "boot n nuke." I have never used it and know nothing about it. You probably have a more informed opinion than I do. I just don't know.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby MagnusB on Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:37 am

Never used it either, but it has been made to securely wipe a hard drive, makes it impossible to recover the data. It is the tool of choice for me if I am to sell a computer, but I have not tried it yet. I'll try it next time I'll format my HP laptop, approximately when OpenSuSE 11 goes beta..
Besides, I like the name ;)
Image
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
--Dean Martin
MagnusB
Level 6
Level 6
 
Posts: 1255
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:39 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby timmyflight on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:13 am

I have used a program called Killdisk to zero (low level format) various hard drives
that were affected by viruses in the mbr.Worked every time, and it's a free download that
you extract to a bootable floppy disk.
Image

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your house
Acts 16:31
User avatar
timmyflight
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:42 pm
Location: PA, USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:25 am

timmyflight,

Hang on there.... Zeroing a drive is completely different than doing a low level format. Doing a low level format is hard on the drive and media. I don't recommend it unless there is a very good reason for doing so.

Not trying to throw rocks timmyflight, just didn't want people to think that what I am suggesting is the same as a low level format. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby timmyflight on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:34 am

Maybe my wording was wrong :oops: , what Killdisk does is write a pass of zeros on the disk.
Image

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your house
Acts 16:31
User avatar
timmyflight
Level 2
Level 2
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:42 pm
Location: PA, USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:48 am

timmyflight,

No problem. If I had a dollar for every time what I said was not what I meant, I would be a very rich man. :-)

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby jbwiden on Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:28 pm

Just an update...

I used puppy and only zeroed the drive with windows, today i received the extra 256MB RAM and was able to quite quickly install Mint. :D

Thanks,
Josh
jbwiden
Level 1
Level 1
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:50 am

Re: Getting rid of Windows XP

Postby Fred on Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:15 pm

jbwiden,

I am glad everything worked out well for you. :-)

Enjoy your journey into Linux.

Fred
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on the menu. Liberty is an armed lamb protesting the electoral outcome. A Republic negates the need for an armed protest.
User avatar
Fred
Level 10
Level 10
 
Posts: 3356
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:59 am
Location: NC USA

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Return to Newbie Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Mute Ant, WharfRat, xenopeek and 35 guests