Linux Remove All Partitions / Data And Create Empty Disk

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How do I remove all partitions, data and create clean empty hard disk under Linux operating systems?

If you are planing sale your hard disk or give to some one else, you need wipe all data left on the hard disk / ssd disk. The simplest command to remove everything from Linux hard drive is as follows. Please note that the following commands will remove all data so be careful. You need any one of the following command:


a) dd command – convert and copy a file.

b) shred command (secure wipe+erase) – Overwrite the specified FILE(s) repeatedly, in order to make it harder for even very expensive hardware probing to recover the data.

c) scrub command (secure wipe+erase) – Writes patterns on magnetic media to thwart data recovery.

Method #1: Old good dd command

Use the following dd command to remove data from /dev/hdX:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdX  bs=512  count=1

OR for sata disk, use the following syntax:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX  bs=512  count=1

In this example, empty sata disk /dev/sdb, enter (you must be login as the root user):

fdisk /dev/sdb
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb  bs=512  count=1
fdisk -l /dev/sdb

Method #2: Securely wipe hard disk with shred command

You can use the shred command to securely remove everything so that no one recover any data:
shred -n 5 -vz /dev/sdb

Method #3: Say hello to scrub command

You can also use disk scrubbing program such as scrub. It overwrites hard disks, files, and other devices with repeating patterns intended to make recovering data from these devices more difficult. Type the following command to securely wipe out /dev/sdb:
# scrub -p dod /dev/sdb

See also

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


4 comment

  1. if i use this to erase a partition on a Chromebook (Samsung Chromebook for $2490 will i be able to still use chrome OS? or will i have to put it back on the SSD? i have no knowledge of any of this stuff, so if there’s a way to take off a disk partition, or devote the entire disk back to chrome, could someone tell me? i mad a partition for ChrUbuntu, and i want it gone. iv’e only got 1 gig for chrome OS, and i need the other 10 back. thanks for the help.

      1. No don’t do this. A Chromebook is different. You will end up bricking up your device. This tutorial is for Linux or Unix users only.

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