Boot & Nuke & installing Linux on old computers

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by NZ2N, Apr 17, 2007.

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  1. NZ2N

    NZ2N Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have some old (P 166 give or take a bit) computers that I'd like to install Linux on but first I really need to be sure the hard drives are as clean as they can be. The plan is to use Darik's Boot and Nuke and then reboot the computers off a CD and install Linux that way. I would be using Puppy Linux because in my Live CD tests it seems as if these old computers can run it okay. Is there anything I should know before I try this?


    Would simply installing Puppy Linux wipe out the old data anyway? It is very important that it can't be recovered.
  2. AE6IP

    AE6IP Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it's "very important" then physical destruction and replacement is the solution. The DOD used to require sandblasting the surface of the disk to remove all of the oxide. Don't know what they require these days.

    If it's "important" then a quick wipe with whatever block filler you like followed by installing puppy linux is fine.
  3. NZ2N

    NZ2N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Okay, thanks, I'm using DBAN now. Hopefully this works but if not I'll just have one more boat anchor/doorstop in the garage.
  4. NZ2N

    NZ2N Ham Member QRZ Page

    It worked like a charm.
  5. AC0H

    AC0H Ham Member QRZ Page

    DBAN does just fine for what you need, actually it's capable of more than you need.

    We used it to wipe 3500 desktops for lease return. It wiped the drives to DoD standards which is good enough for Sarbanes/Oxley compliance.
  6. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Go for it!!

    I had SuSE Linux 6.4 running on a Compaq P166 with a 2 gig HD, and it ran just dandy.

    New installs will work with a 4 gig drive, but very little user space. I'd reccommend a 9 gig minimum, and 256 Mb of memory, although you can get by with less.

    When you format the WHOLE drive for Linux, it re-does the file system to Linux (ext2fs, Reiser or ext3fs) which will obliterate anything Microsoft has on the drive.

    Once you get used to the KDE desktop or Gnome, and the different software packages, you'll find Windows a PITA -- pain in the ***.

    Gary WA7KKP
  7. N2IZE

    N2IZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    On the job we disssemble and destroy the disks to make sure they cannot be read. Unfortunately they are not good for anything afterwards.

    A P166 ?? That sounds way too weak. Most modern day windowing systems are going to need something with a lot more oomph than that. Are you going to operate under the CLI ? Or just use a very sparse and basic window manager ?
  8. KA0SPM

    KA0SPM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Look into Helix. Its a livecd based on knoppix, I think. It is supposed to have the DoD harddrive wiping utility. I have downloaded the livecd but just haven't tried it yet. It is also supposed to completely remove viruses from windows machines instead of just quarantine them. Puppy is a good distro. Make sure you have ram. Like more than 96m, Puppy is slow and buggy without lots of ram. Fldigi barely runs with 96m of ram on a p2 233. Surfing is excruciating.
  9. VE3SRE

    VE3SRE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Deli Linux is a distro that's supposed to work on really old PC's. They claim it'll run on a 486 with 16MB RAM although I haven't tried it myself.

    They have floppy disk "boot images" you can download from the Deli Linux site for machines that are so old that the BIOS doesn't support booting from CD.

    Some of the screenshots on the site show it using the "XFCE" desktop...which I think would run pretty slowly on a Pentium 166. I've tried XFCE based distros on a Pentium 233 with 128MB RAM and it really need a Pentium II for XFCE to work reasonably.

    I have also tried a hard drive install of "Damn Small Linux" on an older Pentium 233 with 64 MB of old 72 pin RAM and it works reasonably well...except Firefox absolutely crawls!

    Fluxbuntu might also be something to take a look at (haven't tried it either!) but from my reading, you'll have to be prepared to spend alot of time on the command line to initially configure it. It uses the minimalist "Fluxbox" GUI. One of the nice things though is that it will work with the Ubuntu repositories if you want to add extra apps not included in the initial installation.
  10. WA7KKP

    WA7KKP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just follow the distro's directions . . . If you still want to use Windows, I'd get another HD and keep the original intact.

    Linux re-formats the HD into several partitions, including a /swap/ section. You need not worry about old o/ses and data when this is done.

    I did SuSE 6.4 on a compaq P-166 and 2 Gb drive, works just great.

    Gary WA7KKP
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