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I think I've reached the conclusion that I need to format my ssd-drive.

What I believe has happened is that once I updated my antivirus-software to the latest version it somehow detected that the copy of Windows 7 Ultimate I was running was not legitimate.

Let me clarify, however, that this is not some mischief I have deliberately done on my own, but merely a presumption, based on what I've been reading about the messages that began popping up on my screen about a week ago, after updating my a/v.

As far as I understand, a certain SLIC Loader v 1.4.6, followed by a bunch of listings and a countdown cursor at the bottom of the screen could well be a sign that a certain activation hack may have been used when Windows was installed on my desktop pc.

If so, it was done by a local computer nerd that I took my pc to after my old motherboard - and most of the devices mounted upon it - crashed, following a couple of successive power cuts at the place I was staying a few years ago. Before that, I was running XP, but them rendered half of my RAM-memory useless (4 out of 8 GB), so I thought it wise to upgrade to 7.

Anyway, no installation cd is available and no external storage device either, apart from a 16GB usb-stick, that I have been running UbuntuStudio live from during the last week, which right now is the only working OS I've got. Booting any mode of my old Windows installation seems impossible, and whatever I do while trying to boot from my internal ssd, I end up like this:

grub> _

Note that I have never installed any version of Linux on this computer.

Unless someone can recommend a workaround, I think I'll have to format my drive, and I reckon I'd better do it the proper way: this advice sounds... sound.

Only that when I type sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass <password> /dev/sda, Terminal returns bash: password: No such file or directory, password being my chosen password.

So, what am I doing wrong?

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    Why do you need to secure erase the drive? Why not just format it? Also, when you're replacing <password> you need to replace that entire piece; there should not be any < or > characters in your command Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 15:07
  • @Nick Thanks. I'm just getting acquainted with Linux and the like, so certain details may seem obvious, but not to me... I thought I'd go with the secure erase method, just for the sake of confidence that I've really wiped off all sorts of specks and traces of my drive. No point?
    – m.a.a.
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 17:45
  • You only need to secure-erase if you're worried about someone with physical access to the drive using data recovery tools to potentially access old data from your Windows installation. It makes no difference to Linux whether you securely wiped your drive or just formatted it in the normal way. Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 3:03
  • @Nick Looking back at this question ( and bypassing all the background info I provided ), it seems like your initial comment constitutes a fully adequate answer to what turned out be just one out of many obstacles I ran into along my attempt to complete a secure erase of my ssd: No chevrons (< and >, that is ) when setting a security password. So why not move it up to the answers' section?
    – m.a.a.
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 14:02

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Unless you need to destroy the data on the hard disk (to make it irrecoverable by data recovery software), you don't need to secure erase; simply formatting the drive should be adequate.

That said, when you type the command, be sure to replace the entire <password> phrase, including < and > characters. For example, if you want the password to be hunter2, the command would look like:

sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass hunter2 /dev/sda

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