Windows 7 Format?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by Dranged, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Dranged

    Dranged New Member

    Feb 23, 2009
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    Been using XP and just made the switch over to Win7, I was wondering when you use the Windows 7 option to 'Format' while installing, does that get everything? I am just curious because when you format on the XP disc it takes over an hour to do and when you use the format provided before install of Win7 it takes 5 seconds?
  2. jimbo45

    jimbo45 New Member

    Jan 20, 2009
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    Old Engineers adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it".
    If W7 installs -- fine -- Don't forget that creating a file system just means arranging the directory in such a way that data can be read / written in a particular manner. The BIOS (or BIOS calls from Windows) does the actual Physical I/O so as long as the disk is "hardware writeable" then there is no reason to "Full Format" it especially with NTFS.

    That's all a File system actually is -- Creates a Directory structure to which you can add data.

    The only time you should have to fully format a disk these days is if you want to totally erase it -- so F.B.I / Military / Police can't "recover" the data (or the other way round -- so Police / Military / F.B.I data can't be unscrambled buy unauthorized users).

    This usually means a low level formatting program which writes Binary zeros in all the hardware blocks and can take a long long time to do properly.

  3. davehc

    davehc Microsoft MVP
    Premium Supporter Microsoft MVP

    May 1, 2008
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    The answer from Jimbo is a bit overcomplicated.
    I don't wish to go through the procedure of installing for the sake of this post, but I seem to remember in the 7 installation you are not given an option of fast or full??
    Your answer is - no. It does a quick format and rearranges the file system. For any intrepid hacker, the data is still there, although maybe a little scrambled in places. On the other forum where you posted, the last answer was, in that respect, incorrect.
    Again, cannot cast my memory back, but I certainly do not remember XP taking that long?
    #3 davehc, Feb 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2009
  4. reghakr

    reghakr Excellent Member

    Jan 26, 2009
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    davec is correct.

    I'm in the forensic field and use a program called Forensic Toolkit. I certainly don't expect anyone to purchase FTK, but there are remnants left behind that you can't see unless use use some type of an actual bit by true image to recover files.

    A trial version of FTK is available, but it is limited to 5,000 items

    It can be downloaded here:
    AccessData Downloads

    Scroll down to the Utilities section and you'll finds trial versions of other forensic software.

    In addition FTK Imager is free. It creates a exact image of the selected hard drive or the contents of folder and the files can be exported
    #4 reghakr, Feb 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2009

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