Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Thu Jan 20 07:10:21 PST 2005

On Thu, Jan 20, 2005 at 02:59:13PM +0100, Colin J. Raven wrote:
> I always thought that formatting/fdisk'ing twice completely erased 
> *permanently* whatever had been on the disc. You make an interesting 
> case that previously I never thought about in any detail.

By no means.  You may need specialised equipment to extract the data,
but you can generally recover anything that was recorded on a hard
drive even after reformatting/overwriting etc.  The police do that
sort of recovery quite a lot when they bust people for trading in
child porn and the like.

If your drive contains or once contained military secrets, then in the
USA and probably anywhere in the West, standard disposal procedure is
that the drive be completely overwritten with specific patterns of
random data several times, and then taken to a secure facility where
the whole thing is literally stamped flat and chewed into small lumps
of scrap.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       8 Dane Court Manor
                                                      School Rd
PGP:         Tilmanstone
Tel: +44 1304 617253                                  Kent, CT14 0JL UK
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