Wiping Disks

How fast can you wipe a complete disk? For this I dumped zeros to a MS Windows partition based on an SSD formatted with NTFS.

[root@i7 ~]# time dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda1 bs=1M
dd: error writing '/dev/sda1': No space left on device
81920+0 records in
81919+0 records out
85898297344 bytes (86 GB, 80 GiB) copied, 182.699 s, 470 MB/s

real    3m2.703s
user    0m0.033s
sys     0m43.470s

It was a real pleasure to get rid of MS Windows after just 3 minutes 😉

Once more, second partition on SSD formatted with NTFS.

[root@i7 ~]# time dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda2 bs=1M
dd: error writing '/dev/sda2': No space left on device
147015+0 records in
147014+0 records out
154155352064 bytes (154 GB, 144 GiB) copied, 326.108 s, 473 MB/s

real    5m26.110s
user    0m0.097s
sys     1m21.503s

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Make USB Stick Bootable

In various forums one reads that one should use dd to copy a ISO image to an USB stick. Although this works, more often you do not want to use a ISO image but rather copy a Linux system at hand. First you mount the root filesystem of the new USB stick, then mount /boot within a chroot. Finally use grub commands. I.e., type

mount /dev/sdc2 /mnt/stick
arch-chroot /mnt/stick
mount /dev/sdc1 /boot           <--- /boot is local to chroot!
grub-install --target=i386-pc --boot-directory=/boot /dev/sdc
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
umount /boot                    <--- umount "local" /boot

Also see GRUB in the Arch Wiki.

Setting the bootable flag in the partition table one either uses gparted, a graphical tool, or, as the task at hand is so simple, one just uses parted.

parted /dev/sdc
set 1 boot on

Unrelated, but often useful. Just in case you changed something in the initial RAM disk, use

mkinitcpio -p linux