Formatting a Linux hd?
I'm looking for a clean start, before switching distros as I have had problems of late.
Normally under windows I'd just drop a win 98 boot disk in and DOS my way to a quick format or partition removal. But under Linux, I am at a loss. What if anything is there that does this on a HD occupied by Linux?
You can use most Linux installer CD/DVD's to overwrite the data for you when you begin the install. Just tell the installer to install over the top of the old install, just like you would with Windows. Well not exactly like that, but you get the idea.
Originally Posted by brian_va
I understand that method, but I suspect something is on my drive that prevents me from Ubuntu, that doesn't prevent me from running Fedora or Mint. I juts wanted a clean slate to ensure one way or another.
You could boot a linux livecd and do something like
This is not formatting (though), it will just leave your disk completely plain, without partitions.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda
Beware that this will overwrite your whole drive with zeroes, which means that you will not be able to recover a single bit out of it once this has finished. If you do this, make sure you choose the correct drive and don't throw /dev/hda in there blindingly.
However, there shouldn't be a need for that. If you truly want to erase all the partitions you should be able to do it from almost any installer. And if not, just boot a livecd, and then use fdisk, parted, gparted or whatever suits you to delete all the partitions. Save, reboot and insert whatever installation disk you want.
Yup, pretty much all installers include partitioning tools, a few command line only, and pretty much all live CD's include gparted.
GParted partitioning software - Full tutorial
Most Distros include also GParted.
GParted is a very powerfull tool that is very easy (intuitively) to use and looks very similar to Partition Magic.
I also used DOS and fdisk very much but for Linux I don't know anything better than GParted. Try it out. It's really easy.
As it supports nearly all filesystems it is much more powerfull than fdisk under win98.
FC3 does a good job.
Had several stalls lately and used FC3 to "clean" the disk properly. It re-formats and so destroys all switches that may be set to get good reboots. The bad ones too!
And it lets you see what it does.