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How To Delete Files from a Hard Drive Using an Ubuntu Stick

Ubuntu 18

In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of deleting files from a hard drive using an Ubuntu stick. This can be particularly useful if you need to remove files from a system that you cannot boot into or if you want to delete files without leaving any trace on the system.

Quick Answer

To delete files from a hard drive using an Ubuntu stick, you need to boot into the Ubuntu live environment, access the terminal, identify the location of the hard drive, navigate to it using the cd command, and then use the rm command to delete the files. Be cautious when using this method and double-check the files and directories you are deleting to avoid removing important data.

Preparing the Ubuntu Stick

Before we start, you will need to have an Ubuntu stick prepared. You can create one by downloading the latest Ubuntu ISO from the official Ubuntu website and using a tool like Rufus to create a bootable USB stick.

Booting from the Ubuntu Stick

To boot from the Ubuntu stick, you need to restart your computer and press the key to access the boot menu (usually F12, F2, or DEL, depending on your system). Once in the boot menu, select the USB stick as the boot device.

When the Ubuntu stick boots, you will be presented with two options: “Try Ubuntu” and “Install Ubuntu”. Select “Try Ubuntu” to boot into the live environment.

Accessing the Terminal

Once the Ubuntu live environment boots, you will need to access the terminal. You can do this by clicking on the “Show Applications” button in the bottom-left corner of the screen (the button with nine dots) and typing “Terminal” in the search bar.

Identifying the Hard Drive

With the terminal open, the first step is to identify the location of your hard drive. You can do this by running the following command:

sudo fdisk -l

The sudo command runs the following command as the root user, while fdisk -l lists all the disks and partitions on your system. Look for the disk or partition that contains the files you want to delete.

Navigating to the Hard Drive

After identifying the location of your hard drive (for example, /dev/nvme1n1p4), you can navigate to it using the cd command. Here’s how you can do it:

cd /dev/nvme1n1p4

The cd command stands for “change directory”, and it is used to navigate to different directories in the terminal.

Deleting Files

Once you are in the desired directory, you can delete files using the rm command. Here’s an example of how to delete a file:

sudo rm myfile

In this command, rm stands for “remove”, and myfile is the name of the file you want to delete. If you want to delete a directory, you can use the -r option, which stands for “recursive”. Here’s an example:

sudo rm -r mydir/

In this command, mydir/ is the name of the directory you want to delete.

Conclusion

Deleting files from a hard drive using an Ubuntu stick can be a powerful tool, but it should be used with caution. Always double-check the files and directories you are deleting to avoid removing important data. Remember, once a file is deleted using the rm command, it cannot be recovered.

If you encounter any issues or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to consult the Ubuntu community documentation or ask for help on the Ubuntu forums.

Can I use any USB stick to create an Ubuntu stick?

Yes, you can use any USB stick as long as it meets the minimum storage requirements for the Ubuntu ISO file, which is usually around 4GB.

Can I use a different tool to create a bootable USB stick?

Yes, there are several tools available to create a bootable USB stick, such as Etcher, UNetbootin, and Universal USB Installer. Rufus is just one option.

Can I use the “Install Ubuntu” option instead of the “Try Ubuntu” option?

Yes, you can use the "Install Ubuntu" option if you want to install Ubuntu on your computer. However, if you only want to delete files from a hard drive, it is recommended to use the "Try Ubuntu" option to avoid accidentally installing Ubuntu on your system.

What if I cannot find the terminal in the Ubuntu live environment?

If you cannot find the terminal, you can press Ctrl+Alt+T to open it directly.

Can I delete files from any hard drive using this method?

Yes, you can delete files from any hard drive that is accessible in the Ubuntu live environment. However, be cautious and make sure you are deleting the correct files to avoid data loss.

Is it possible to recover files that have been deleted using the `rm` command?

No, once a file has been deleted using the rm command, it cannot be easily recovered. It is important to double-check the files you are deleting to avoid any accidental deletions.

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