Question
Reply
 
Student
fishergirl
Posts: 1
Member Since: ‎06-26-2011
Message 1 of 5 (14,350 Views)

Do System Recovery Discs Erase Everything on Hard Drive?

I am preparing my 19 month old HP desktop for sale and I am concerned for security of what may be left on my hard drive. I was told that if I perform a full system recovery from the discs provided to me by the factory, that it should wipe everything clean from my hard drive, including any personal credit card info that I may have used for online purchases, passwords, etc. This task should also reset my computer to the original factory settings. I did complete this task and it took a lot of hours, however, I want to be 100% sure before I sell this computer, that it is free of any of my personal info. Also, I'm wondering if I should also take another step and download one of the free hard drive clean programes?

Thanks for any advices out there.

Associate Dean
Mumbodog
Posts: 11,026
Member Since: ‎01-11-2010
Message 2 of 5 (14,346 Views)

Re: Do System Recovery Discs Erase Everything on Hard Drive?

[ Edited ]

Erase, no.

 

What is does is delete all partitions and recreates them and installs the OS, in theory any old data that is not overwritten in the process can be recovered with advanced software,

 

What you can do is recover the OS, then erase the freespace on the drive with Eraser 5.8.8

 

Once you have recovered the PC install Eraser version 5.8.8, once installed open Windows Explorer and right click on the C drive and select "Erase Unused Space", a confirm erase windows will open, hit the options button and select #4 (1 pass pseudorandom data), then hit ok to erase the unused space. This will take some time to complete, let it run to complettion.

 

Between the HP recover process and this erase, it will leave nothing to recover from your old install.

 

Download and install version 5.8.8

http://sourceforge.net/projects/eraser/files/Eraser%205/

 

 

 

Provost
DavidPK
Posts: 32,606
Member Since: ‎09-24-2010
Message 3 of 5 (14,344 Views)

Re: Do System Recovery Discs Erase Everything on Hard Drive?

Hi,

 

Using your Recovery Discs to reinstall the operating system will have performed a quick format of the entire Hard Dive, effectively wiping all of your personal data.

 

If you want to go one step further, you could download and install Killdisk on the link below.

 

http://software.lsoft.net/KillDiskSuiteFree-Setup.exe

 

Download and install ImgBurn on the link below.

 

http://download.cnet.com/ImgBurn/3000-2646_4-10847481.html

 

Go to the Kill Disk application you have installed in All Programs, open the main folder, then select Bootable Disk creators and from that select Bootable DOS CD Creator which will burn the bootable ISO to a blank CD.

 

During the next process do not worry about any warnings as your Recovery DVDs will reformat the HDD.

 

Insert this CD in to your PC then shut the PC down and start it again to boot from the Killdisk CD and follow the on screen instructions for Kill Disk.

 

A brief description of the process is here Killdisk.

 

Use this to wipe the whole of the Hard Drive ( f10 ) - ( make sure you include all partitions and then start the process - this may take a couple of hours! ).  When the process is complete, remove the disk, insert your first Recovery Disk and reboot your PC to start installing the operating system again.

 

Regards,

 

DP-K



---------------------------------------------------------------------------

****Click the White thumb to say thanks****
****Please mark Accept As Solution if it solves your problem****
****I don't work for HP****


Microsoft MVP - Microsoft Windows Expert - Consumer

Associate Dean
Mumbodog
Posts: 11,026
Member Since: ‎01-11-2010
Message 4 of 5 (14,342 Views)

Re: Do System Recovery Discs Erase Everything on Hard Drive?


DavidPK wrote:

Hi,

 

Using your Recovery Discs to reinstall the operating system will have performed a quick format of the entire Hard Dive, effectively wiping all of your personal data.

 




David, this is just not true, sorry. quick format only re writes the master boot record and MFT, the data is still on the drive and can be recovered with software very easily if you know how to.

 

Long format in XP is the same except is does a sector read looking for bad sectors, no data is ever destroyed.

 

Vista and W7 has changed the long format behavior, if you do it from the command line it will write 0's to the hard drive, effectively erasing data

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941961

Provost
DavidPK
Posts: 32,606
Member Since: ‎09-24-2010
Message 5 of 5 (14,337 Views)

Re: Do System Recovery Discs Erase Everything on Hard Drive?

@Mumbodog,

 

I know what you mean regarding quick format, the free version of KillDisk writes zeros to the HDD, though only 1 pass, whereas the paid version will do mutiple passes with a selection of standards.

 

Regards,

 

DP-K

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

****Click the White thumb to say thanks****
****Please mark Accept As Solution if it solves your problem****
****I don't work for HP****


Microsoft MVP - Microsoft Windows Expert - Consumer

† The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation