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 Post subject: Data recovery from a regular (long) format
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:50 am
Posts: 508
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
Scott,

I got involved in a discussion on another forum over whether a long format (as opposed to a quick format) will render a drive's data unrecoverable. I had argued you should instead zero out your data if your objective is to delete all data on a drive, but now I am not so sure the long format would not accomplish the same thing.

A normal (long) format will spend a lot of time writing to every sector to test them and write any bad ones out of the availability table and reassign spare sectors to take their place.

Obviously any bad sectors unable to be written to could still contain data but are good sectors completely written over during a format? If they are then surely recovering data from that sector would be most unlikely.

I cannot seem to find any data on exactly what the format does at microsoft.com. Nor is it clear if any of the HDD recovery software apps will (or will not) work on a long formatted drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Data recovery from a regular (long) format
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:44 pm
Posts: 358
Location: Bellevue, WA, USA
I remember listening to one of hard drive expert Scott Moulton's podcasts and remember him saying explicitly that the full format in Vista and Windows 7 DOES do a complete wipe of the drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Data recovery from a regular (long) format
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
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Quote:
A normal (long) format will spend a lot of time writing to every sector...

Under Windows XP and earlier, a "long" (i.e. unconditional or non-quick) format of a hard disk partition will only *read* all of the sectors in the volume. Data will not be overwritten, and could easily be recovered after the format has completed.

However, with Windows Vista and later the behavior of the format command changed such that by default zeros are written to all of the sectors in the volume during a non-quick format. In that case it would be impossible (not just "unlikely") to recover any data from the volume once the format has taken place. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Data recovery from a regular (long) format
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:50 am
Posts: 508
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
Thank you very much!


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