Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Welcome to Glock Forum at

Why should YOU join our forums?

  • Connect with other Glock Enthusiasts
  • Read up on the latest product reviews
  • Make new friends to go shooting with!
  • Becoming a member is FREE and EASY

Glock Talk is the #1 site to discuss the world’s most popular pistol, chat about firearms, accessories and more.

Another "HDD File Deletion" Thread

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Obi Wan, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    I didn't want to piggy-back on the other thread since I'm not sure if my question is the same as the other OP's...

    Situation -

    CORRECTION - I'm upgrading from the present 40 gig, 4200 rpm, 2 MB cache, HDD in my old HP laptop to a new 250 gig, 5400 rpm, 8 MB cache, HDD.

    My intention is both because the 40 is too small to do a whole lot, and the new 5400 rpm/8 MG cache drive just 'might' be fast enough to handle putting Windows 7 Home Premium on my laptop along with my desktop so that I can at least have the same basic software (I'm about to put a new 500 gig HDD in my desktop also).

    The kicker is that since the old 40 gig HDD is at least still operable, yet too small to be anything but an emergency drive (and possibly some back up storage), I've been cleaning everything but the basic WinXP and some misc. programs off of it since I can get everything else I need from my desktop or the new HDD going into the laptop.

    Thus, using Crap Cleaner, I've "cleaned" the 40 gig drive after deleting everything I didn't want (leaving XP, MS Office, and numerous programs) using the 'Gutmann (35 passes)' method. I then Defragged the drive. However, after cleaning, defragging, and wiping ALL of the free space, I ran "Recuva" to see what files I'd find. And lo and behold I got "18,452 files", with approximately 1/4 - 1/3 of them listed as "Excellent" State of condition.

    My hope was that the unused portions/free space of the drive would in fact be "clean" in case I loaned the drive out or gave it away. That obviously isn't the case.

    Am I expecting too much from what Crap Cleaner claims to wipe clean???

    Are there reasonable and 'no cost' alternatives to accomplish this?

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  2. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000

  3. Could try this:

    Thanks for posting this thread, your findings are very troubling to me, as I ASSumed that several passes would render data largely unrecoverable to everyone but the most experienced entities with advanced equipment & software, let alone 35 passes.....very troubling indeed...

    Did you actually try to recover any of the files?? I'd be curious to see if you actually could, or if perhaps the software was wrong somehow.
  4. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    Note I edited my original post to say that I did leave MS XP/Windows, and other various programs, etc. I was trying to 'wipe' the remaining 20 gig (+/-) that was now 'free space', so I wouldn't want to use dban at this point, but thanks!

    I did recover one picture, but will run a quick trial on various files that are listed as "Excellent" condition, etc, to see if they recover in full.

    Note - I just ran a quick trial on a couple dozen mixed files... 'Unrecoverable, Poor, Excellent'... and .mov, .jpg and .gif. Many of the other "recoverable" files were .dll files, etc.

    The results are mixed. I'm not able to play the .mov (QuickTime video), and I got about 1/4 of the .jpg files to open, and the .gif file played, surprisingly. The other .bmp and .pdf files wouldn't open even though it said "Excellent" and they weren't written over (supposedly). In fairness, I did recover them to a new folder on the same drive, which a pop-up notice said might cause problems, so who knows... ??

    UPDATE - I just figured out that when I "wiped" the drive free space, I used the 'Options/Settings' section. That obviously doesn't do a complete wipe as noted above.

    However, under the 'Tools/Drive Wiper' section, there is a full 'Wipe Free Space' option using the Gutmann procedure. I'm doing that right now so we'll see later whether that fixes things properly.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  5. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    For total hard drive wiping you use Darik's Boot And Nuke or 'DBaN' as we call it... but it is used to wipe the entire drive.

    Now who is to say that you wipe your 'free' drive space... But what's under the current files??? Hmmm... That is just as possible to data mine as any other part of the drive.

    Simply because there are files there now, everything beneath those files are more than likely recoverable...

    If you want it '*clean* so you can 'loan it out' then DBaN the drive, and put what you want onto it.

    Make sure you run full passes and scrub it hard (shucks I just use default parameters) and after it's nuked, populate it as needed, or just gift it away...

    40Gb - Wow - Makes you wonder how we ever got along with only 40Gb of HD! Was this a Windows 3.11 hard drive at one time??? :rofl:

    Sorry ObiWan - I could not resist...

    Don't Taze Me Braugh! :faint:
  6. GAFinch


    Feb 23, 2009
    Keep an eye on your laptop's internal temperatures with that 7200 rpm drive.
  7. filthy infidel

    filthy infidel 100% Infidel

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Carolina
    It's good that you are so vigilant regarding your data.
    Just take a break and think about this:

    What's on that drive that may get out?

    Pictures : Your wifes boobies Before or after:whistling:

    A lot of the stuff people keep on a drive that old are insubstantial..............
  8. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    All good points, guys.

    Pierre! - Good point about the files under the files, although the ones I tried to recover wouldn't come up, at least the way I did it. Someone a bit smarter and trickier may be able to, but so be it.

    And, heck, I remember when waiting for a new HP laptop that had the NEW 120 MB HDD's!!! Those were the days!! :supergrin:

    Btw, this laptop originally ran Win 98 if I recall correctly and I installed XP when I bought it at about a year old.

    I've got an old Altima laptop in the basement (Win 3.1) that has 4 MB of RAM and another Compaq here in the closet that's got a whopping 32 MB of RAM (Win 95) and a small drive to boot. They're not much more than artifacts now.

    GAFinch, thanks for the hint on the internal temps. I had wondered about that. This is a Seagate 'Momentus' drive. I had looked at one that supposedly ran cooler, but it was only 5400 rpm's and figured I needed the extra speed and cache to try to run Win7. I do try to keep a fan cooler under it so that should help, at least when I've got it here at home.

    Infidel, most of the files are harmless, but I do know there were a few that had some confidential info from old tax files, etc, that I want to try to obliterate.

    In the long run I'll most likely use the drive for target practice, so I'm just 'testing and playing' to see what will do what, I guess. :cool:

    I'll let you know later what Recuva comes up with after the second 'Wipe' I did last night with the other process.
  9. Keyhole


    Dec 28, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I'm not sure what you folks are referring to by "files under files." Overwritten data should be terribly difficult to recover with private-sector tools. I think what you are seeing is a bunch of junk that was left in allocated space after you did your program and file deletions and the wipe you did was only directed at unallocated space. It could also be that some of the files you saw afterwards were found in slack space (which is in allocated space and would have been ignored by your unallocated wipe). If you don't know, the file system assigns files to clusters, but rarely is a file the same size as a cluster, thus there is typically a remainder called slack space. For example, your file is two and a have clusters in size. The file system assigns it to three clusters, thus leaving half a cluster of old stuff still there to be found.

    Also my wiping tool of choice is Kill Disk. It has a single-pass with zeroes mode that runs for free. Just understand that in Kill Disk, it refers to overwriting just the unallocated space as a 'wipe' and overwriting the whole disk as a 'kill.'
  10. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    Gotcha. I hadn't thought of all the technical aspects of this, but then I never really understood the 'magic' of how HDD's operate anyway. Thanks for the info.

    Fwiw, the second 'wipe' using the 'Tools/Driver Wiper' option and only 9 files show, all marked "Excellent" State... "no overwritten clusters detected"... .bmp, .cab, .xml and an Outlook file. NONE were recoverable enough for me to read them, although two of the .bmp files came partially through and I could tell what they were but they had a lot of static lines running through the pics.

    Don't know if this helps anyone, but it's been interesting for me.

    GAFinch - The HDD Health program I have running says my CPU temperature is currently running 50 degrees C, which is about normal without the additional cooling unit, which my wife is using right now. That's with a 40 Gig, 5400 rpm Toshiba HDD and the Mobile Intel Celeron CPU - 1.80 GHz.

    How much might that temp rise going to a 7200 rpm HDD? Should I be looking at a different drive model to keep the heat down? I would, though, like a 7200 rpm model to speed things up.

  11. Keyhole


    Dec 28, 2005
    Houston, TX
    No prob. PM me if I can help. I'm head of IT Forensics at a major corporation.
  12. Ogreon

    Ogreon unlisted

    Oct 3, 2006
    I can understand wanting to give a HD to someone in need, but I don't see any reason to leave the OS on it. If you give it away, wipe the whole drive.

    Personally, I like to take them apart and throw the silvery platters at people.
  13. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...

    I agree that if I was to donate it I'd 'kill' the entire drive. I'm keeping the current XP OS on it in case I need it as a temporary drive if I have a failure on the new one, etc. If I determine it's worth using for backup, I'll wipe it clean. I just didn't see any sense in leaving all the misc. stuff on it if it wasn't going to be used in one fashion or the other.

    Thanks, Keyhole.
  14. harrygunner


    Sep 4, 2010
    I'm wondering if a laptop that came with a 40 gig drive would support a 500GB drive. Best to read the motherboard specs to see what the limits are.
  15. Linux3


    Dec 31, 2008
    40 gig 5400 RPM.....
    Humm, almost useless.
    I would clean it by running a 1/4" drill bit through it.

    Whatever you might get for selling this drive is worth less than the sleep you will lose wondering if you left something on it.

    If you feel the urge to donate it. Just buy a small and cheap drive and donate that.
  16. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    I've corrected my OP. The original drive was a 40 GB, 4200 rpm drive. The new one is a 250 GB, 5400 rpm drive. I had to change the 500 GB because I had picked up a SATA drive and the original was an EIDE.

    But it turned out that the laptop is too old to support Win7 anyway. I was unable to locate drivers to support it and it was worthless. I'm putting XP SP3 back on it now so at least it will be usable.

    And, no, I won't be selling the old drive. It's not big enough for anything worthwhile.

  17. Yeah, getting drivers to work on much older machines can be a pain, but I've had success by right-clicking the .exe file and telling it to run in compatibility mode for WinXP.

    The other issue is that you really should have a bare minimum of 2GB RAM for 7 to run well. It will run with 1GB, as those are the min. specs from Microsoft, but it's not fun.
  18. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    I thought about the compatibility mode, but you're right about only having the 1GB of RAM. It just don't work...

    This whole exercise has been pretty much a waste of my time. Some day I'll learn when to stop tinkering... :supergrin:

  19. I know...I kinda feel that same way with the rig I built myself....:upeyes: :supergrin:

    But it's fun though, ya learn new stuff, and there are worse hobbies we could have. :)