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Old February 10th 14, 12:31 PM posted to microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics
John K.Eason
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In article ,
(Jim Hawkins) wrote:

*From:* "Jim Hawkins"
*Date:* Sun, 9 Feb 2014 18:00:36 -0000

Thanks for your advice, John and GR.
I'm still using XP Pro (with SP3).
Am I right in thinking that formatting removes all traces of files
which may have been on the drive before ?

No! a normal Windows quick format only reinitialises the file pointers. The data
is still there and still recoverable. A low level format will initialise every bit
on the disk to zero, but using forensic techniques still allows some data to be

If so, the ability to re-format selected parts of a drive (selected
files) would seem to be a good way to safely destroy unwanted files
which contain sensitive data. That's why I posted the question.
Or is safe enough to do it by overwriting (with the likes of
Eraser) ?

Eraser is certainly better as it does overwrite files with different information
several times. It's worth reading an article like this too:

I've not really investigated them because I usually use a sledgehammer to dispose
of old drives, but I suspect that most of these programs are designed to erase the
*entire* disk, not just selected files on it.


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