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Originally Posted by smilingfrog Out of curiosity, what tools do you use to look at the hard drives that have been reformatted but not resurfaced? Applications such as testdisk , ...
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  1. #21
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilingfrog View Post
    Out of curiosity, what tools do you use to look at the hard drives that have been reformatted but not resurfaced?
    Applications such as testdisk, photorec, and foremost will sometimes pull up deleted partitions and files.
    oz

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    Quote Originally Posted by oz View Post
    Applications such as testdisk, photorec, and foremost will sometimes pull up deleted partitions and files.
    Those are exactly what I've used in the past (along with ddrescue). they're all in the System Rescue CD, which is what I always use.

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    I've had some good luck over the years with all 4 of those. And there's another one that I can't remember the name of right now to save my life. It's a paid program. I bought it probably 15 years ago, from a German company. The disk it was on got melted a few years back and I haven't been able to find it again. It was from a small company, they may have been bought up or gone out of business. But it was worth every penny. I was hacking one of my drives about 10 years ago and flubbed up big time and blew up all of the partitions on the drive (doze). I pulled out that disk and recovered all but about 2% of my data.

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    If you are worried about other people seeing your data when you sell your machine, why not use one of the Ubuntu "alternative" (or other distros such as fedora) installs that allow you to fully encrypt your disc. That way, when you reformat and reinstall the new OS, nothing can be read from the old data even if it is not overwritten. This also solves the problem if some one steals your laptop or it is lost, as it makes your data unreadable and safe from prying eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reginaldperrin View Post
    I agree with steven_g (mostly) and oz, in that it's a good idea to run a bootable deletion program from cd. Just make sure that the computer is set to boot from cd/dvd drive (settings in the BIOS), and then run the deletion program.
    A very easy to use one is Darik's Boot And Nuke (DBAN for short).
    Just download the .iso, burn it to cd, just as you would a Linux Live cd install disk, put it in the drive and reboot.
    Even multiple reformatting of a drive doesn't delete the data in the drive, it just resets the indexing at the front (more or less). And even if old data is overwritten by the OS during normal operation, the new data isn't likely to be exactly the same size as the old. Therefore, there will be parts of the old data at the ends of some sectors which is not overwritten. This is definitely recoverable, and the data can be read or examined, even though it is not complete. This is partly how forensic investigators determine what was on a drive.


    Hope this helps
    Just wondering, you said this is how forensic investigator find data, but could the average computer nerd find any data?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpghost6 View Post
    Just wondering, you said this is how forensic investigator find data, but could the average computer nerd find any data?
    Yes, no problem. I'm a 30 year end user. I'm only just now starting to peer behind the GUI. The analogy that I like to use is: I can't build a screwdriver, but if you put one in my hand I can do all kinds of stuff. I could not code a recovery program if my life depended on it. Give me the right 4 or 5 programs and I'll have large fragments of your life off of an old hard drive in less than 24 hours. Sometimes the fragments are not worth much. Sometimes it's you're SS# / bank account # and passwords. It just depends on what you've been doing and how lucky I get. Like I said earlier: There are some folks out there who should be really glad that I'm an ethical guy.

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    I was wondering about D ban (deriks boot and nuke) I like to use that one, but does it delte data or just change it?

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    as i understand it, DBAN deletes the data and then overwrites the sectors on disk with a method of your selection (Guttman, DoD, etc.), rendering the data extremely hard to recover.

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