FULLY erase a hard drive


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Hello,

I am trying to completely erase everything from my hard drive (windows are not installed on that hard drive). So is everything deleted by going to the hard drive and right click -> format? or does this do what a regular Windows 7 format does? I mean to completely erase all hidden files that can be restored and such.

Thanks for your help,
Alex
 
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TrainableMan

^ The World's First ^
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Install CCleaner and in the tools use Drive wiper to overwrite everything with 0s and 1s, you can choose how many passes you want this to be done. I think years ago the Dept Of Defense standard was 5 passes, this offers up to 35, but of course it may take hours to run.
 
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Digerati

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To answer your question, no, they are not deleted with a format. The disk sectors are simply marked as available in the file tables. Someone with a disk analysis tool can go in and read each sector and like a jig saw puzzle, piece most of it back together. The same thing happens when you delete a file too - the file is not actually deleted, the space it occupied is simply marked as free so something new can be saved (written) to it.

So the only way to really get rid of any data is to write new data into each sector. You can do this yourself by saving a bunch of music files (for example) to fill up the disk, then delete those files, then save and delete again to be sure. But it is easier with a "wipe" program like DBAN or Erasure, or with a good cleaner program like CCleaner.

One thing I really like about CCleaner's "wipe" feature is you can use it to wipe ONLY the free space. This means you can use it on your current drives without destroying any of the data files you want to keep while ensuring there is nothing retrievable from any free space.
 

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