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Would installing Ubuntu 12.10 only and not alongside Windows 8 remove everything I have? I don't want anything I had before to stay on my computer so I want to start fresh.

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Would installing Ubuntu 12.10 only and not alongside Windows 8 remove everything I have?

Yes, but for someone else reading this question: You can have both if you want to. If you're doing a graphic install just select the option to replace Windows instead of Install Ubuntu side by side or do a manual partitioning and format Window's partition and write Ubuntu on it.

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Alternatively, if you are dealing with sensitive data, there are a wide range of software to erase and write over files so they are beyond-recovery. You can also consider checking the Full Disk Encryption option when installing 12.10

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Yes, as previous 2 says, different partition type will remove "everything". If you want to be sure absolutely no data stays on your hard drive, use for example this guide https://help.ubuntu.com/community/GraphicalInstall and option "Erase disk and install Ubuntu" in Installation type option. This should be enough for you.

If you want to vipe out data from hdd before due to security reasons, you can use this guide http://how-to.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_wipe_a_hard_drive_clean_in_Linux from live installation of Ubuntu. I especially like the dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda bs=1M command as will fill disk with random numbers, but this is a long process... and should be done with care to erase the right disk, etc.

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As I commented on one of the other answers, this has nothing to do with the pre-existing partitions being of different partition types. Also, I recommend clarifying that "Erase disk and install Ubuntu" as documented at help.ubuntu.com/community/GraphicalInstall will not enable you to "be sure absolutely not data stays on your hard drive." Some data can often be recovered. You seem to be aware of this, but I recommend connecting your 2nd paragraph more clarly with the 1st. Right now this answer is confusing and misleading. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 28 '13 at 17:45
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Yes in order to install Ubuntu it will have to change the file type on the hard drive from NTFS to Ext4. This will require formatting the hard drive, and thus removing everything that has existed before that.

I would recommend that if there is any data that you want to keep do back it up before installing Ubuntu or you will never see it again!

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The partition type (which is not a file type) is irrelevant. At least if it's NTFS, which Ubiquity can resize. If you have an OS with compatible partition types--a previous Ubuntu installation, even!--and you specify a clean install (using the entire disk and not alongside the existing OS), it would remove that previous OS too. And it's not generally necessary to remove the pre-existing operating system to install Ubuntu. The installer is capable of nondestructively shrinking many partitions, including Windows's NTFS partitions, if you have it install alongside the existing OS. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 28 '13 at 17:44
    
@EliahKagan he specifically said that he did not want a side by side install, that he wanted to blast away his Windows 8 install. –  TheX Mar 29 '13 at 15:01
    
I understand that. You have still made a false general statement that may mislead and confuse others. (You might consider saying something like "Yes in order to install Ubuntu in this way, replacing Windows 7, it will...") –  Eliah Kagan Mar 29 '13 at 16:21
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If you click 'Clean Install' in the install selection, it will remove Windows 8 and all that comes with it.

I hope you enjoy Ubuntu!

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