10-21-2013 02:01 PM
Just got 4 new Z220 SFF units and need to reinstall my image for our corporate environment. I have updated the bios on the units and it will boot from a Windows 7 DVD with no issue, however it will not allow me to delete the existing partitions so that I can install our Microsoft Windows and create new non UEFI Partitions so that they will work properly with our imaging tools. How can I wipe the drives of all partitions to start clean with our Windows 7 Pro DVD.
10-21-2013 04:23 PM
I have used the free Linux based bootable CD (burned from .iso you can download) low level reformat utility "DBAN" for years now, and it has worked perfectly for such processes. It takes some time, so I have a spare xw6400 set aside for this purpose. Some target drives seem to need to be in the boot drive position, and others can be in the secondary position on the SATA chain for DBAN to work with them. I have even seen a few drives where I needed to do that plus have SATA emulation set in BIOS to IDE Separate or IDE Combined to finally get control over the drive with the bootable DBAN CD. That is rare, but if you do that remember to set BIOS back to RAID + AHCI when finished. I run DBAN at its default settings, and it boots into a Linux-based program that has been able to clear drives that nothing else could. It leaves the drives in a "raw" condition which you can then use normal Windows Disk Management utilities on.
I just used this DBAN process for two Z620s that needed clearance of UFEI components from their boot drives, and then did the clean MS DVD System Builder W7Pro64 install from scratch for each..... there are recent updates for all the Z series workstations, and you'll want them all, too.
Related, I can post my Z620 clone BIOS Replicated Setup file if you wish so you can print that out and see our optimized BIOS settings for these builds.... they'll be very similar to the Z210 optimized settings. If you're going to change from what came with the new workstations remember to capture your stock settings first with Replicated Setup for archival purposes.
Here's the DBAN link and the .iso can be downloaded from there. It has been in "beta" forever.... I use it on all drives as part of my standard prep steps before clean installs.
During the early W7 clean install process be sure to follow the steps that result in the small "system reserved" partition being created in addition to the main boot partition. I'm using MBR partitions; NTFS long formats thereafter. Finally, I do a subselected format of each of the two partitions once they have been created (that generally is very fast).
I have posted here on how to ensure that happens correctly. We have a major medical program that will not install properly without those two both being present, and I now follow that procedure for all clean installs (for both SSD or conventional boot drives). I am running on SATA drives, and not doing RAID.