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Windows 7: How to format a USB drive safely?

02 Jun 2011   #1
seventrad

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 
[SOLVED] How to format a USB drive safely?

Hi,

I searched in many web pages and I learned that secure formatting (DoD, NSA, Gutman, etc...) doesn't works with USB drives. Is it true?

So, how can I secure delete a USB drive preventing a recovery data? What software I need?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jun 2011   #2
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Try a full clean & full format in command prompt.
Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command


Type in command line

DISKPART
LIST DISK
SELECT DISK # (USB HD)
CLEAN ALL
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SELECT PARTITION 1
FORMAT
EXIT
EXIT
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2011   #3
seventrad

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 
The correct way

I searched in web and I found the correct way:

1) Install Eraser 6 or above:
Link: Eraser :: Downloads

2) VERY IMPORTANT STEP: Delete all data in USB device with DELETE key or FORMAT it with the Windows Explorer! The USB device need to be completely empty.

3) Run Eraser 6 as Administrator (very important for Windows Vista/7 users). Right-click mouse and choose "Run as administrator".
How to format a USB drive safely?-admin.jpg

4) Choose the options below:

1 - Create a "New Task"
How to format a USB drive safely?-1.jpg

2 - Choose "Run immediately" and click in "Add Data"
How to format a USB drive safely?-2.jpg

3 - Choose the "Erasure Method" (the correct option is "Pseudorandom Data 1 Pass" - only 1 pass. For more detail see reference (*)) and check "Unused disk space", then select the USB drive. Check "Erase cluster tips".
How to format a USB drive safely?-3.jpg

4 - Click "Ok" and the erase will be run immediately!
How to format a USB drive safely?-4.jpg

5 - During the task, all unused bytes in USB device will be overwritten by random data! Only 1 pass is necessary (*).
How to format a USB drive safely?-5.jpg

(*) Reference: Heidi Computers Ltd Support - View topic - Erasing USB key Drives (for understand I recommend the read all topics)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jun 2011   #4
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

CCleaner also has the option of a secure wipe of a drive. You can choose only free space or wipe the entire drive.
Did Eraser6 wipe the entire drive or only free space? Your snip shows only unused space being overwritten.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2011   #5
seventrad

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
CCleaner also has the option of a secure wipe of a drive. You can choose only free space or wipe the entire drive.
Did Eraser6 wipe the entire drive or only free space? Your snip shows only unused space being overwritten.
1) In Eraser 6 the only available option is "Unused disk space"! But, deleting all data in USB device before or formatting it, entire drive will be overwritten!

2) CCleaner Driver Wiper is very, very slow! Example for one USB device with only 1GB!
How to format a USB drive safely?-cc2.jpg


My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2011   #6
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

In CCLeaner Options/settings where do you have the overwrite settings? It has the options od 1,3,7, or 35 passes. for A USB flash drive, 1 pass should be enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2011   #7
rbeldua

MS Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
In CCLeaner Options/settings where do you have the overwrite settings? It has the options od 1,3,7, or 35 passes. for A USB flash drive, 1 pass should be enough.
i agree with britton, i done that probably hundred times already. in the office we had to secure our files as not to be retrieved by any undelete/recovery software. 1 pass is enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2011   #8
seventrad

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
In CCLeaner Options/settings where do you have the overwrite settings? It has the options od 1,3,7, or 35 passes. for A USB flash drive, 1 pass should be enough.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by rbeldua View Post
i agree with britton, i done that probably hundred times already. in the office we had to secure our files as not to be retrieved by any undelete/recovery software. 1 pass is enough.
I use CC's Drive Wiper with only 1 pass, see:
CC Drive Wiper.rar


My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2011   #9
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

How long did CCleaner take in actuality? Many program give an estimate which is high then completes in a much shorter time. I trust CCleaner to do a good job, if a program says it wipes and takes a few seconds, not so trustworthy. A wipe is CPU-intensive too and will be slower with other programs running at the same time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2011   #10
seventrad

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
How long did CCleaner take in actuality? Many program give an estimate which is high then completes in a much shorter time. I trust CCleaner to do a good job, if a program says it wipes and takes a few seconds, not so trustworthy. A wipe is CPU-intensive too and will be slower with other programs running at the same time.
Eraser spends only 6 minutes to do the same job. See:
Eraser.rar


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 How to format a USB drive safely?




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