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I was just wondering, if you did a full partition copy onto another hard drive, would it also copy the "deleted" data that can be sometimes recovered with recovery tools or would it just leave that space clean.

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It depends on the tool you use. Most partitioning tools just copy existing files. You can notice this because empty partitions are moved much faster.

The possibility for recovery is based on the principle that, if you delete a file it's actual data is not deleted from the hard drive but released for overwriting. You can recover the data as long as no new data is written in those sectors. You can keep this data by copying the partition bit by bit. This can achieved e.g. with Linux tool dd.

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Correct me if I'm wrong but gparted would do the same as dd, correct? – user88311 Jan 24 '13 at 18:56
I have to admit I don't know. Maybe there is a feature that does an exact copy. I use gparted for resizing and moving. My guess would be that it copies only used sectors in that case. – André Stannek Jan 24 '13 at 19:00
PS: The deleted data would also physically stay on that drive if it is not overwritten during resizing and moving partitions. – André Stannek Jan 24 '13 at 19:02
Think you could post a question asking for me, I was going to but I reached the 6 question limit for today, I've got the title and question ready to go if you would,"Does Gparted do a True Bit by Bit partition copy""Does gparted do a true partition copy to which it copies bit by bit including empty sectors so recovery of deleted data is possible on the copy of the partition or does it just ignore and leave empty sectors." tags"gparted true-partition-copy bit-by-bit empty-sectors backup" – user88311 Jan 24 '13 at 23:37
Sorry, it was sleeping time here in Germany ;-) I'm guessing you can ask it yourself by now? – André Stannek Jan 25 '13 at 12:09

If it's a true disk image it will be an exact sector-by-sector copy of the original and will include the deleted but possibly recoverable files.

But I don't think you should assume that any given partition copy application will necessarily capture a true disk images without verifying. It's conceivable an individual developer might decide to leave out unallocated blocks to make for a smaller backup file. And of course, a file backup will generally never include deleted files (except perhaps those in the recycle bin.)

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Thanks for the answer, do you happen to know of any tools that would do a "true" copy. – user88311 Jan 24 '13 at 18:55
I wish I could offer a recommendation but I haven't tested what's out there to know what works. But the "usual suspects" I'd probably investigate first would be Acronis True Image and Norton Ghost. – Nicole Hamilton Jan 24 '13 at 22:09
Do you know of any that are provided as a bootable disc as to copy the partition without starting or modifying the system, as I just found out from testing that gparted does not copy the empty sectors. – user88311 Jan 26 '13 at 19:14

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