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Interrupted full format - can I now perform a quick format?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I have a 500GB external USB hard drive that I am about to sell. I had only approx. 40GB data on it.

I decided to delete the MBR/partition, then let Windows 7 to create a new MBR/partition and then I did a full format so a tricky user cannot restore my files.

It took about 40 minutes for the full format process to reach 15%, where I stopped the full formatting as I did not want to wait another 4 or so hours... Then I performed a quick format. The drive seems okay, the size of free space is right and the restore software does not show any folder of file that could be restored.

So everything seems okay, but I want to be on the safe side: after creating a new partition and then an interrupted full format, is a quick format enough? Won't the buyer receive any error message to reformat the drive etc.?

Thanks
    
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post #2 of 5
A quick format will be fine although the data can still recovered if the buyer wanted to as all a full format does is remove the file table (the same as a quick format) and runs check disc. If you wish to destroy all the data you need to use a program like DBAN or killdisk.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitemarks and bloodstains View Post

A quick format will be fine although the data can still recovered if the buyer wanted to as all a full format does is remove the file table (the same as a quick format) and runs check disc. If you wish to destroy all the data you need to use a program like DBAN or killdisk.

Thank you. Yes, I actually used Active Killdisk first, but after 15% or so complete I stopped it as it was sooo slow. Then I started full format as I thought it would be faster. Well, it wasn't :-) But as I had only 40GB or so data on it, this first 15% was (it seems) enough to clear all of that data as now there are no recoverable files shown.
    
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitemarks and bloodstains View Post

A quick format will be fine although the data can still recovered if the buyer wanted to as all a full format does is remove the file table (the same as a quick format) and runs check disc. If you wish to destroy all the data you need to use a program like DBAN or killdisk.
thumb.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitemarks and bloodstains View Post

Thank you. Yes, I actually used Active Killdisk first, but after 15% or so complete I stopped it as it was sooo slow. Then I started full format as I thought it would be faster. Well, it wasn't :-) But as I had only 40GB or so data on it, this first 15% was (it seems) enough to clear all of that data as now there are no recoverable files shown.
I doubt it. Wiping out a drive takes the same amount of time as running a thorough chkdsk scan (or full format), which takes the same amount of time as doing an in-depth file recovery scan.

Windows sticks files all over partitions, so unless your partition was only 40GB or so, you cannot guarantee your data is not farther into the drive. What is probably happening is your file recovery software is locating the MFT (which was overwritten with a new blank one) and determining that there are no files on the drive - which is incorrect. If doing an in-depth scan, files would probably show up.

You need to go back and do a proper erase using DBAN, a secure erase, a zero fill, etc. - unless of course you trust the person you're giving the drive to.
     
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

thumb.gif
I doubt it. Wiping out a drive takes the same amount of time as running a thorough chkdsk scan (or full format), which takes the same amount of time as doing an in-depth file recovery scan.
Windows sticks files all over partitions, so unless your partition was only 40GB or so, you cannot guarantee your data is not farther into the drive. What is probably happening is your file recovery software is locating the MFT (which was overwritten with a new blank one) and determining that there are no files on the drive - which is incorrect. If doing an in-depth scan, files would probably show up.
You need to go back and do a proper erase using DBAN, a secure erase, a zero fill, etc. - unless of course you trust the person you're giving the drive to.

Thank you. Yes, this night I left my wife's computer on and performed a full zero fill format.
(I hope I will never want to sell away my 1.5TB drive - that would take forever to clean! :-))
    
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