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I installed ubuntu last week on an old laptop once running VISTA. First time Linux user.

Did the new install completely wipe my HD? including all of the windows crap and documents? I sure hope so.

If not how do I get rid of it.

Finally, do I need to defrag HD ?

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How did you install Ubuntu? –  Mitch Jun 9 '12 at 14:48
    
Pay attention to what you click during an installation. The installer is quite verbose about what it's going to delete and will ask you at least once to confirm that. –  slhck Jun 9 '12 at 14:49
    
@Mitch I installed with a burned ISO CD (12.04) This is my post on installation : plus.google.com/105827836649857848805/posts/PLUj2kFG2En –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:09
    
@Mitch you will see I answered YES to the question "Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu". I just want to make sure that it did a clean reformat. [I guess I just answered my own question - Did not remember] –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:10
    
@Mitch BTW, do I need to defrag ?? –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:11
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4 Answers

Did the new install completely wipe my HD?

No, it did not.

It only just reformatted and repartitioned the drive to remove references to the windows files and make room for Ubuntu and its ext4 filesystem.

There are easy to use tools to recover most of your files and documents from the previous installation (see e.g. this question).

In case you had sensible data on the drive that you don't want to be recovered you will need to completely overwrite all sectors of the drive. This was not done by an installation of Ubuntu. See this question on securely removing data.

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Thank you @Takkat Couple last questions (for now!) (1) The laptop running Ubuntu is quite old. AMD Turion 64 only 1Gb (937MiB) of RAM. Should I get more RAM ? (2) Where can I find Linux commands so I can learn (sudo, ls, cd .., etc.) (3) Are you on G+ ? –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:31
    
1G is enough, but as all OSes more is better. But I wouldn't add more if I didn't have something lay around. There are quite many references and books about learning Linux commands. Just try one, Google should be helpfull here. –  Anders Jun 10 '12 at 18:27
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Do the following to see:

Install Gparted by opening the Terminal (search for it in the dash) and type:

sudo apt-get install gparted

Then, once it installs, open the application. You should see a representation of your hard drive. Look for the partition, then, that is labeled "Windows" or "Vista" or the one you recognize as the Windows one because of its size. Once you find it and know that it is the correct one, right click it and delete it. Be very careful that you don't delete a partition that you don't mean to.

As for defragmenting a hard drive, no. :) That is one of the greatest joys of Linux. Windows runs a filesystem known as NTFS which requires defragmenting. On Linux, we run EXT2/3/4 that stores files differently and does not require defragmenting up to a certain point. Once you get to, say, about 10% free space or so, then you should consider using defragmenting tools. But, until that point, Linux's filesystem does not require it.

Note: When looking for the Windows partition, keep in mind that it is NTFS format.

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Thank you @RyanMcClure –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:15
    
Couple last questions (for now!) (1) The laptop running Ubuntu is quite old. AMD Turion 64 only 1Gb (937MiB) of RAM. Should I get more RAM ? (2) Where can I find Linux commands so I can learn (sudo, ls, cd .., etc.) (3) Are you on G+ ? –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:30
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If you open GParted you'll be able to see what partitions you have on your HD (GParted is available in the Ubuntu Software Center). You can see how your Ubuntu partition (or partitions, depending on how you did your installation) is formatted, how much free space - if any - you have, and if there are any extra partitions remaining from a Windows installation. Of course, if you have only one partition, it's Ubuntu (since you're running it).

Although Ubuntu can be installed on an NTFS partition, and you might have done that, if there are other partitions that are also on NTFS that might be a clue that they contain Windows data, but it's not a certainty. It is more common to format an Ubuntu partition with filesystems such as ext3 or ext4.

You can also open Nautilus (the second icon in the Unity launcher, which opens your Home folder) and see if other drives are shown on the left. Any drives you don't know about? If you wonder, open one and see what's in it. If you find folders and files inside, can you tell if some of them are from Windows?

If you do find a partition containing Windows, and you want to get rid of it, the easiest way is to use GParted to delete the partition that it's in. Of course, doing things with partitions is pretty much a one-way operation (yes, there are some tools to attempt recovery, but they're really for emergencies and not good to work into your plans), so you need to be sure before you commit.

And no, you don't need to defrag your Ubuntu partition, especially if you've used one of the Linux filesystems (such as ext3 or ext4).

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Thank you @Kelley I will use GParted. BTW I'm not sure if I used ext3 or ext4 - don't even know what it means –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:14
    
@Kelly GParted confirmed it's an ext4 (I'll investigate more to see what it means) I promise, give me 6 months and I'll answer questions on this forum :) –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:21
    
@Kelly Couple last questions (for now!) (1) The laptop running Ubuntu is quite old. AMD Turion 64 only 1Gb (937MiB) of RAM. Should I get more RAM ? (2) Where can I find Linux commands so I can learn (sudo, ls, cd .., etc.) (3) Are you on G+ ? –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:30
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According to your post, all partitions that existed of the Hard Drive were deleted prior to Ubuntu installation. So to answer your question YES it Did wipe my HD ?. and no need to defrag.

Ubuntu by default uses Ext4. If you would like to know more about the different file systems, and the differences between them Click Here

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Couple last questions (for now!) (1) The laptop running Ubuntu is quite old. AMD Turion 64 only 1Gb (937MiB) of RAM. Should I get more RAM ? (2) Where can I find Linux commands so I can learn (sudo, ls, cd .., etc.) (3) Are you on G+ ? –  HrMartin Jun 9 '12 at 15:27
    
You can, but you don't have to. No, I'm not on G+, The best place to learn about Ubuntu, is of course ubuntu.com, and this would be a start ubuntu.com/community –  Mitch Jun 9 '12 at 15:31
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