What happens after formatting?

Published: 07th July 2008
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This is a very interesting feature and you are likely to be flooded with lots information if you delve deeper into the crux of the matter. The deeper you go the more complicated it seems cause more often than not we are deceived into believing facts that don't exist at all. The myths that surround the very act of formatting and reformatting are erroneous and needs serious revision. What is formatting? In common parlance formatting a hard drive is synonymous with complete data erasure of the files and folders that might have been saved on the said hard drive. This is completely wrong cause the typical behavior that a formatting exhibits is complete and permanent deletion of data from the stipulated area which has been commanded to be formatted. This can range from the entire primary partition where the operating system resides to the dynamic partition which leads to data erasure from the entire
hard drive to selective formatting which entails data erasure from selective areas in the hard drive like the primary partition and one of the many extended partitions. For e.g. formatting of the primary partition entails permanent deletion of the system files that remain installed in the primary partition. If data other than the system files are stored in the primary partition that too suffers deletion when formatting is done.Why format?It is commonly considered that formatting is prompted by a few solid reasons like a person desirous of permanent deletion of his sensitive and important yet unwanted data which he no longer requires or in cases like data sanitization which now-a-days constitutes an integral part of the data security in most well informed companies around the globe. Some format their hard drives before donating or reselling the computer peripherals on the erroneous belief that this would lead to successful data
sanitization and would therefore stall any remote chances of data exposure and information security risks but in reality the data that is erased during formatting doesn't get completely deleted from the system. Does formatting ensure complete data erasure?No, it doesn't. This very feature in formatting poses threats of data exposure and information security risks as the hard drives that are meant for disposal are in many cases not overwritten ample number of times to render data retrieval impossible. Once an inadequately formatted hard drive hits the wrong hands, grave consequences relating to data theft and illegal data utilization follows.Why does it take so long to format if it's not erasing the data contained in the hard drive?Most of us misjudge the time taken by the Windows to format the disk as the time taken to wipe away the entire contents from the hard drive but in reality the procedure is completely at variance to what we presume it to be. The Windows takes a stipulated time to check the disk for errors in order to ensure that every sector on the disk can read and write correctly and simultaneously marks the bad ones in the file system. It is only after executing this task that it starts with the creation of a new, empty file system record which is placed at the beginning of the disk. How does the formatted disk get blank and why can't the previous data be accessed if it has not been erased?The formatted disk appears blank as the data entry or the records of the previous file system gets deleted and renders the original files and directories inaccessible. In case of formatting, the previous data can still be recovered if it has not been overwritten many number of times. It is here that data recovery software swings into action. The data that we assume is lost is basically stored in the form of clusters in the hard drive which can easily be retrieved by employing data recovery software.
What are the tools that help in retrieving data after a formatting has been attempted?· free un-format utilities· data recovery softwareWhich one of these ensures effective data retrieval?The first option has some limitations in the sense that there are certain preconditions that need to be satisfied before employing them. They can only be opted for if nothing has been written on the formatted disk following the formatting procedure, if the disk has been formatted with the same type of file system (FAT or NTFS), if the same cluster size has been used. If these factors are not considered it might wrought a greater damage than you can ever imagine. Besides this these tools simply return the original file system in place of a new one. Why is a data recovery software a better option? If you are opting for the latter option all you have to ensure is not writing any thing on to the formatted disk and refraining from running any free or paid un-formatting program at this stage as it might lead to overwriting of the existing files thus making it impossible for the software to retrieve the previous data. You are at liberty to choose the procedure that suits your purpose but if you are opting for the second you can bank on Stellar Information Systems Ltd whose popular products Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery, Stellar Phoenix FAT, Stellar Phoenix NTFS (depending on file types) are a highly recommended name in the market and can effectively recover data from your formatted hard drives.

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