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Discussion Starter #1
hey ocers,

im going to use my EXTERNAL western digital HD to back up all my stuff and put all my video card drver/sound drivers/security software on there to save time before i reinstall windows onto a new harddrive(the one im using right now is dying)

and i want to make sure the EXTERNAL hard drive has no malware and stuff on it.

is a regular format or quick format sufficient enough?

or should i find a program to wipe "0's" on it first then format?
 

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If the stuff going onto the external drive is super critical to you.. The only way to be sure the drive is clean before you start transfering data is to fully format it!

Try scanning the external drive with a good antivirus and ALSO Malwarebytes Anti-malware and see if it finds anything. If not then a quick format on the drive will be ok.

If the virus scan & Malwarebytes does find nasties on the external drive though and it's going to be a pain to remove.. Just full format it!
 

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Short of boot sector viruses (which aren't very common), a regular format should catch everything.

Files will still be on there, not overwritten - but the only software that will see them is recovery software.
 

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A regular format only has one difference in comparison to the Quick format: the regular format includes a disk check prior to formatting. The actual format takes just a few seconds because all it does is it erases the Master File Table, or the File Allocation Table. I mean, it doesn't touch the data, just the section of the drive that tells an operating system where all the data is and what the file names are. It makes a computer think that the drive is empty.

This is why data recovery is possible after a format.

However, perform the quick format. It'll be enough.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
A regular format only has one difference in comparison to the Quick format: the regular format includes a disk check prior to formatting. The actual format takes just a few seconds because all it does is it erases the Master File Table, or the File Allocation Table. I mean, it doesn't touch the data, just the section of the drive that tells an operating system where all the data is and what the file names are. It makes a computer think that the drive is empty.

This is why data recovery is possible after a format.

However, perform the quick format. It'll be enough.
This.

If you're short of time, do a quick format then perform an error check later (unless you have done one recently and know the drive is ok). If you have the time for it run a full format.

There is no reason to use anything other than a format to blank the drive - if the OS thinks the data is gone then that is what matters. No malware can reinfect your system. The only reason to use a wiping tool is to ensure a drive is clear of any personal details before you sell or otherwise dispose of it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by the_beast View Post
This.

If you're short of time, do a quick format then perform an error check later (unless you have done one recently and know the drive is ok). If you have the time for it run a full format.

There is no reason to use anything other than a format to blank the drive - if the OS thinks the data is gone then that is what matters. No malware can reinfect your system. The only reason to use a wiping tool is to ensure a drive is clear of any personal details before you sell or otherwise dispose of it.
And this!

I was going to say too that a Quick format renders all data completely useless. Any virus, malware or any other bad thing becomes permanently dormant and unable to do anything. The 0s and 1s that make up the bad things like a virus are no longer able to do anything. They just sit there and eventually get overwritten.

It's pretty brutal.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
And this!

I was going to say too that a Quick format renders all data completely useless. Any virus, malware or any other bad thing becomes permanently dormant and unable to do anything. The 0s and 1s that make up the bad things like a virus are no longer able to do anything. They just sit there and eventually get overwritten.

It's pretty brutal.
i already scanned it with everything i can think of.

nothing came up

so should i just do quick format?

i did a regular format awhile ago and it took forever.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wutsup View Post
i already scanned it with everything i can think of.

nothing came up

so should i just do quick format?

i did a regular format awhile ago and it took forever.
Yep, the Quick format is all that needs to be done. The regular format takes so long due to scanning the drive for errors prior to formatting it. The actual format process only takes a few seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Yep, the Quick format is all that needs to be done. The regular format takes so long due to scanning the drive for errors prior to formatting it. The actual format process only takes a few seconds.
ok i just dragged everything that i had previously on there to the recycle bin before doing a quick format and some of the old files i dragged to the recycle bin automatically deleted instead of going to the recycle bin? is that suppose to happen?

like when i dragged it all there it was a couple of exe files and some pictues and music.

when i dragged them all to therecycle bin all of them got deleted before even reaching the recycle except for the pictures.

is that suppose to happen?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wutsup View Post
ok i just dragged everything that i had previously on there to the recycle bin before doing a quick format and some of the old files i dragged to the recycle bin automatically deleted instead of going to the recycle bin? is that suppose to happen?

like when i dragged it all there it was a couple of exe files and some pictues and music.

when i dragged them all to therecycle bin all of them got deleted before even reaching the recycle except for the pictures.

is that suppose to happen?
The Recycle Bin probably reached its size limit (which can be changed in its Properties).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
The Recycle Bin probably reached its size limit (which can be changed in its Properties).
ohhh right..so when it reaches its limit it just deletes the file instead of going to the recycle bin?

reps to you man, youve helped me out in other threads ive created also
 

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Originally Posted by wutsup View Post
ohhh right..so when it reaches its limit it just deletes the file instead of going to the recycle bin?

reps to you man, youve helped me out in other threads ive created also
Yeah, it's my guess that this is why they were deleted. Unfortunately, I've always used the setting that says "Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted.", so I lack the experience with the default setting (which is what you're using).

But anyway, you're very welcome. I get a big kick out of being there for people when I am able.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LiLChris View Post
Isn't there a program that writes millions of small files so it makes it virtually impossible to recover data?

I forgot what its called...
So THAT'S what it does!!!! I didn't know that.
I forgot the program's name too, but people always say that it fills the entire drive up with 0s (or, that it "zero-fills" it). So people might say, "you need to zero-fill your drive".
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Yeah, it's my guess that this is why they were deleted. Unfortunately, I've always used the setting that says "Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted.", so I lack the experience with the default setting (which is what you're using).

But anyway, you're very welcome. I get a big kick out of being there for people when I am able.

So THAT'S what it does!!!! I didn't know that.
I forgot the program's name too, but people always say that it fills the entire drive up with 0s (or, that it "zero-fills" it). So people might say, "you need to zero-fill your drive".
do you think i shouldve done the zero fill and then quick format?

or do you think quick format is sufficient
 

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Pretty sure CCleaner has an option to actually delete anything left over so that it can't be recovered.

No idea if it will actually be 100% guaranteed.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wutsup View Post
do you think i shouldve done the zero fill and then quick format?

or do you think quick format is sufficient
Zero-filling is best used for when you're selling a drive, or throwing it in the trash - especially if it had really private data on it (the kind that you wouldn't want somebody else to get their hands on by using data recovery). After zero-filling, a quick format may not be needed because I think the entire drive is filled with zeros, including the part of the drive that gets erased during a format.

So yeah, the Quick format is perfect.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LiLChris View Post
Isn't there a program that writes millions of small files so it makes it virtually impossible to recover data?

I forgot what its called...
There are several options for this - KillDisk, DBAN to name a couple.

As mentioned before though, there is no benefit to actually doing this unless you are disposing of the drive - they only prevent data recovery from the drive and have no benefit over a simple format if all you intend to do is re-use your drive yourself. All you end up doing is wasting time (they take several times longer than a full format) and stressing the drive for no reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quote:

Originally Posted by the_beast View Post
There are several options for this - KillDisk, DBAN to name a couple.

As mentioned before though, there is no benefit to actually doing this unless you are disposing of the drive - they only prevent data recovery from the drive and have no benefit over a simple format if all you intend to do is re-use your drive yourself. All you end up doing is wasting time (they take several times longer than a full format) and stressing the drive for no reason.
so could i use ccleaner's wipe free space option on my EXTERNAL harddrive and get the same effect as using dban and writing 0's?
 

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external or internal doesn't matter - if you are keeping the drive, just format it. There is NO reason to do anything else.

If you want to sell it use one of the other tools - for most purposes a zero fill is likely to render all the data on the drive inaccessible to anyone looking to recover it, but one of the more secure multi-pass options should probably be used to be sure (although if this is a USB drive I don't think you can use DBAN).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wutsup View Post
so could i use ccleaner's wipe free space option on my EXTERNAL harddrive and get the same effect as using dban and writing 0's?
Nah, that just deletes data. Writing all zeros is not necessary and it may end up being extremely disappointing due to it taking an extremely long time.

Just use the Quick format and keep moving forward.

But now if you were selling this drive or throwing it out in the trash, and also if it used to have very, very valuable and very sensitive personal data, then yes: zero-fill it, and zero-fill it 7-10 times in a row. Otherwise, anyone would be able to recover that data (provided that they wanted to).
 
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