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Posted on 2004-09-12
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I am wondering if after I have reformatted my computer a few times throughout the year if I or someone can go back to see what was on it say 6-12 months ago? Things like software, history, etc? I always deleted my partitions and then reinstalled the operating system from scratch if thay helps any. Thanks for any input.
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Question by:bfeldman13
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by:sunray_2003
sunray_2003 earned 100 total points
ID: 12040455
It is not very easy or in other words difficult to do that ..

However you can try software listed here to check deleted data..

http:Q_20774841.html

SR
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by:SheharyaarSaahil
SheharyaarSaahil earned 100 total points
ID: 12040465
Hello bfeldman13 =)

hehe, u must be kidding.... or really serious.... I mean can u still think that after the installating that much, u can still recover data.... yeah may be a single or two files.... may be :)

!! GOOD LUCK !!
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by:pjcrooks2000
pjcrooks2000 earned 100 total points
ID: 12040483
Ahhh yes sometimes it may be possble to view files even after the drive has been formatted and re partitioned for instance check out this PAQ http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_20673277.html

Now if you had sensitive data on your machine such as confidential company information you would want to actually write over the whole disk.  Writing over the whole disk would make any data that was previously there unrecoverable.

To do that a you could use some of the following tools

http://www.killdisk.com/features.htm
http://www.disk-wiper.com/
Also read this for the program called zap http://www.easydesksoftware.com/youformat.htm

I hope this helps you, yes computer security and data protection is a very serious business

I wish you the best of luck

pjcrooks2000
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by:Jared Luker
Jared Luker earned 100 total points
ID: 12040515
It's not repartitioning that makes this such a hard thing to do.  it's the overwrighting of sectors that makes it almost impossible.

When a drive is formatted, or a partition is deleted, all of the data on the HD is still there.  However, when you start to reinstall windows and all your applications, the data that was there is then overwritten with the new data that you are dumping onto your HD.

Files are written to hard drives asynchronously.  This leads to fragmented files going to all parts of the hard drive platters.  You could have part of a file at sector 100 and another part of the file at sector 10,000.  If you go and reinstall windows and it overwrites the part of the file that is at sector 100, then the data that is at sector 10,000 is worthless because the file can not be re-assembled.  With all the hard drive usage that can go on in 6 months, I would say that your data is good and gone.

My .02

Good luck,

Jared
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12040551
Don't take any chances on this, trust me it's not good as gone... I studied internet computer security and research this field, while it is entirely possible that most data is destroyed on a reinstall that does not make sure of it.  Files may be fragmented, but they may also be clumped together and may still exist on a drive after repartitioning, format and reinstall.  
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mtgenius earned 100 total points
ID: 12041201
Hey bfeldman,

Trust me it is very possible to get all data off of a hard drive that has been formatted, fdisk'd, reinstalled, etc.  None of those things are guaranteed to actualy write over used sectors on a HDD.  Using a program like getdataback from runtime.org which can actually read platter sectors on the hard drive it is very possible to retrieve data you thought was gone forever.  This is the same type process that forensic techs use to rape crooks hard drives of info.  

I have several clients which I have performed this service for.  Some had formatted days ago and some months ago.  Everytime I was able to locate and recover 95% of the data they had on the machine before.  Even after they had fdisk'd and formatted the drives to reinstall windows.  It just takes patience and determination.  

The only way to truly rid your HDD of any data at all is to use a good shredder.  

MTGENIUS
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by:ITcrow
ID: 12041880

Six times write/format on the disk makes it nearly impossible.

Although slim, but there still are chances of data fragments recovery before that.

If it's really some IP ( Intellectual Property ) or Strictly Confidential data, then you
should format the hard-drive, using a script to copy files to make the disk full. Then
format it and repeat the process 5-6 times.

The way head writes data on the disk, there is a minor offset at times and same
track can hold up-to six times the data.
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by:ITcrow
ID: 12041909
In support of my argument, read the description of this product:
http://www.softforall.com/Utilities/SecurityEncryption/DriveScrubber09130016.htm
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by:mcp_jon
ID: 12042014
Don´t need to worry about that, over 6 six times formatting makes it almost impossible to get data back, even with those nicelly new programs that are out there !!

Best Regards!
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by:samccarthy
ID: 12043380
I would say that after a few times of formatting and repartitioning, Any data or traces of it are long gone and are unrecoverable.  Whatever would have been there was overwritten numerous times so there wouldn't be any data or history to find.

Steve
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by:hehewithbrackets
ID: 12049629
What about quick formatting vs normal formatting?  My understanding is that a quick format is going to delete almost nothing, but a normal format that takes much much longer, does it overwrite each sector with null data?
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12049676
Nope it does not!  
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by:hehewithbrackets
ID: 12049747
What's the difference between the two?
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by:dheeruthakur
ID: 12052020
yes, it is possible.
     you download  recover 4 all or r-studio  its help you.
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by:bipinpaulbedi
ID: 12052692
ok when you format a hard drive or delete any thing the data is lost from File system only and can be recovered until that address is replace by other data. If data is not replace there are certain toll that fill '0' on each address of your hard drive. i recommend to use such tool before discarding old hard disk.One such tool is available on each manufactures site name also know as low level formating. It fills '0' on each address of your hard drive thus making any bad sectors mark good or replacing them, fixing mbr and even wipe out complete data as each address is replaced.
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12052814
The tools that that fill it wil zeros I have told you about in my first post, third comment down!

pjcrooks2000
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by:hehewithbrackets
ID: 12057641
Thanks for the info, but what's the difference between a normal format and quick format?  Is there any benefit to doing a regular format that takes 10x longer when reinstalling Windows?
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12059621
Theres some discussions on them here

http://www.aoaforums.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-18221.html
http://www.examnotes.net/article1040894.html


Seems as though from these that the normal format checks the disks for read write in certain sectors whereas a quick format does not do this.

Have a read anyway

pjcrooks2000
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by:pjcrooks2000
ID: 12128000
Cheers now ;)
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