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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigMac56 View Post
    Sorry Doc, but "Format" does not erase all trace of the files, just the pointers to them.
    You might want to carefully reread what you posted vs. what DrWho wrote. Doc specifically addressed the DOS format command. The citation you quoted refers only to Windows.

    DrWho is exactly right. The DOS format command overwrites the data space in a file system. If one chooses, you can force the DOS command to behave like the Windows command by coupling it with the "/q" command-line switch.

  2. #17
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    I've been using DOS commands since version 1 or 2 in the late 80's dg. I've done some research. Here's what I've found.
    The DOS format command Does Not wipe the drive, as technically "DOS" ceased to exist with Windows 98 (or possibly, Windows ME).

    The Command Line format for XP or older Does Not wipe the drive unless you tell it to specifically using /U, but that only worked well on floppies.
    The Command Line format for Vista and above Does wipe the drive, as long as you don't do a quick format. You can also specify the number of times you wish to overwrite the disk.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_formatting

    Unconditional format: There is also the undocumented /U parameter that performs an unconditional format which under most circumstances overwrites the entire partition,[16] preventing the recovery of data through software. Note however that the /U switch only works reliably with floppy diskettes (see image to the right). Technically because unless /Q is used, floppies are always low-level formatted in addition to high-level formatted. Under certain circumstances with hard drive partitions, however, the /U switch merely prevents the creation of unformat information in the partition to be formatted while otherwise leaving the partition's contents entirely intact (still on disk but marked deleted). In such cases, the user's data remain ripe for recovery with specialist tools such as EnCase or disk editors. Reliance upon /U for secure overwriting of hard drive partitions is therefore inadvisable, and purpose-built tools such as DBAN should be considered instead.

    Overwriting: In Windows Vista and upwards the non-quick format will overwrite as it goes. Not the case in Windows XP and below.[
    So yes, I did learn something new, you can now wipe a disk without any additional software since Vista came out. Many people still call the command line a Dos prompt, so I'm willing to concede we're all correct!

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigMac56 View Post
    The DOS format command Does Not wipe the drive, as technically "DOS" ceased to exist with Windows 98 (or possibly, Windows ME).

    The Command Line format for XP or older [...]

    The Command Line format for Vista and above [...]
    Again, you've cited references to Windows, not DOS. If you've been using DOS since v1 then I'm sure you know DOS is an operating system separate from Windows. Just because Windows came along doesn't mean DOS "ceased to exist". People may not use it much anymore, but it still exists if one chooses to use it.

    If you boot to real DOS, you can use its format command and by default it definitely does overwrite the partition. This is easily verifiable by using a sector editor to look at the contents of a partition's sectors before and after using the command.

    Again, the relevant distinction is running from a DOS boot, not a Windows boot. Windows is a different operating system, and the Windows format command, even when run from a command-line window, is not the same as the DOS version of the format command.

  4. #19
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    If you were able to completely erase a disk with the DOS Format command, then what did the "Unformat" command in DOS Ver 5 and 6 recover???

  5. #20
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    Nothing. If you backed up or mirrored it beforehand, or if you used Format with the "/q" switch to merely zero the FATs and leave the data, then presumably Unformat would have something to work with. But I can guarantee you that using the Format command in DOS without any special switches did--and still does--overwrite all preexisting data on the partition, leaving nothing that can be "unformatted".

    I just retested and verified that is exactly what happens in MS-DOS 5.0 and 6.22.

    Granted, going back to the original post, MS-DOS probably isn't very useful to the OP because he's almost certainly dealing with disks larger than DOS can handle, but DrWho's comment that DOS overwrites the data space is nonetheless correct.
    Last edited by dg1261; 2012-11-17 at 03:56.

  6. #21
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    Okay. Thanks for the info.

  7. #22
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    The DOS FORMAT command can either wipe or not wipe all sectors as you choose.

    This is a partial list of the format switches.

    FORMAT X: [/V:label] [/Q] [/Passes]

    /Q will do a quick format without wiping the sectors and will override /P.

    /P:8 will do a slower format wiping each sector eight times.

  8. #23
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    Thanks for your input Paul. It's a great help.

    Happy Holidays!

    Moon1130

  9. #24
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    Trying to differentiate between DOS and Windows is impossible. The first Windows was written as a shell program that called DOS as an interface between Windows and the hardware. It's still that way, the kernal functions of Windows are DOS. There are enormous differences between DOS versions, and between Windows versions, but that's just normal expansion of the capabilities. Basically, the command prompt IS a DOS prompt, but DOS keeps getting more functions with each iteration.

  10. #25
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    That is not how most people see it. The command prompt is not DOS, even if many of the old DOS commands are still available.
    DOS has gone completely, replaced by the NT kernel. Wikipedia: "Windows ME was the last operating system to be based on the Windows 9x (monolithic) kernel and MS-DOS."

  11. #26
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    Get your screwdriver out and take the drives apart. Hang the platters on your wall for decoration to impress your friends, or use them as cupholders.

    If I want to wipe a drive, I take it apart, effectively destroying it.

  12. #27
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    As this is already way off topic...

    It didn't take long to get this one "OT" OP "Is there a way I can wipe them clean without hooking them back up to my computer and using an erasing program?"

    This one took only 6 posts.

    Is it REALLY that hard to read the whole OP and respond accordingly?
    If you have a different topic should it not be in a new post?
    Maybe I am just too picky?

    Maybe this should be in a new post!
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  13. #28
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    Maybe.... what's your point ??

    The answer was given in the first reply. It just didn't qualify the response by saying it couldn't be done without a computer and still preserve the drive.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  14. #29
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    In a more perfect world, a Moderator would have already closed this thread. I would!
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  15. #30
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    In a more perfect world, a Moderator would have already closed this thread. I would!
    Alas, we are still waiting for the good Dr. to make this a "Perfect World".
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

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