Trying to erase all data from Windows based
systems with commands related to data deletion, like Delete, Empty Recycle
Bin, Clear History, Delete Temporary Internet Files in Microsoft Internet
Explorer do not guarantee confidentiality of erased information or your
Internet Privacy. Any intruder can still recover deleted files from your
computer using low-level disk editors or latest data recovery software.
Even if you've deleted files
encrypted in Windows 2000, recovering of original file contents is still
possible. The only way to completely ensure that files deleted are not
recovered is to use a secure application that explicitly destroys the data,
overwriting and replacing hard drive surface information with some random
information as Department of Defense recommends in DoD 5220.22-M / NISPOM
How to Completely Erase all Hard Drive Data
If you delete a program or format
your hard disk, there's always a chance your data can be recovered. If you
want to completely erase data, eliminating any possibility of recovery,
consider using this free, DOS-based utility. To use the program, follow the
directions on the page from the link below to
KillDisk. Because the
utility bypasses your drive's logical drive structure organization, it does
not matter what operating system you're running: you can use the utility in
Windows 9x, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Linux, or Unix for PC.
This program conforms to US Department of Defense's standards (5220.22-M)
for clearing and sanitizing standard sensitive information.
Note: although these versions are free,
there is also a Professional version that supports several other erasing
algorithms and is compliant with the U.S. Department of Defense's 5220.22 M
standard. It costs $29.95.
Low Level Formatting a Hard Drive
Another way to completely erase a hard drive
is to low level format it. In the old days, this used to be a common way of
restoring a complete system. The BIOS routines on computers even included a
program for low level formatting a hard drive. This is different now,
however. Low level formatting is rarely recommended for erasing or repairing
a hard drive.
Today, low level formatting involves writing
zeroes (0's) or "zero filling" the drive. This is not a true low level
format but does erase the drive because if everything on the drive is a
zero, then nothing is there.
Manufacturers discourage low level
formatting, but I have found it useful in certain situations where I want a
complete and total clean hard drive before I install an operating system.
Once the drive is low level formatted, it
must be partitioned and high level formatted to accept data. If you need
routines for low level formatting you might try the links below to the hard
FAQ: Low level format
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