Hey guys,

i've heard from alot of my computer geek friends that formatting a drive and installing a new OS doesnt actually 'erase' all previous data, but instead just empties the partitions and overwrites. Some of them even say there are still lingering kilobytes of spyware designed to 'hide' from a format..........

I dont have any top-secret documents on my computer that require the absolute destruction of my data, but i was wondering,
How safe is DBAN if i REALLY wanted to start from scratch?
For a regular reinstallation of windowsxp, is using the autonuke function safe?
Will i simply be able to insert my windows xp disk after DBAN has completed and go about my installation as normal?
I have heard that DBAN can be dangerous, but how?

I'm in no rush to format my computer, but it has been acting a little erraticaly lately so my next format shouldnt be to long from now. My need to have these questions answered isnt critical, was just wondering and thought i'd ask.


9 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by gerbil

Yeah... formatting a hard drive, even a so-called high level format does not erase your files. What it does do is empty the file structure table [so that files are "lost" ie they are not indexed anywhere] and write a new MBR [which loses the partition information that was in the old MBR].
Reinstalling Windows will pretty much just overwrite the old windows files, depending upon how fragmented your OS partition was. Any half decent software will find those lost partitions that are still on your hd physically, plus recover lost files, although fragmenting may make them tough to recover, but still recoverable.
If you don't have secrets or are not selling the hd you don't need to overwrite it with 1's an 0's to erase data, but old partitions can confuse some file recovery software. They will NOT interfere with a new OS installation, nor confuse it - it just will not know they exist.
DBAN is just one of many like softwares. I don't know how it could be considered dangerous. Erasing is a time consuming business though, very disk intensive, ... if it does tip your hd over the edge, well, all to the good, it was going to die anyway. DBAN won't interfere with the real disc structure [the original low level format] so you just quick format as part of the new Setup run as per normal.
As for old viruses etc, a normal quick format and reinstallation of OS will lose them totally.

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.