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What is the primary difference between quick format and format. Does a format write 0's before writing the inodes/allocation table and a quick format just write the allocation table/inode without writing 0's? Also, is secure erase the same as format?

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Who downvotes questions like this? Jeez. –  danielcg Feb 11 '13 at 6:10
why don't you google...there are tons of articles about this! –  tumchaaditya Feb 11 '13 at 8:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A quick format just lays out the partitioning structure for the disk, while a format will typically overwrite the whole disk.Thus a quick format is not as secure as a full format. That said, a full format is not a secure as doing a proper full disk wipe. (For a start, a full format may not always be programmed to overwrite all the bits on the partition, and will miss some parts of the disk alltogether - for example boot loader and bad sectors)

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Disks use a thing called a journal to find out where your data is on the physical disk. A quick format deletes that, but you can still get the data back if you read all of it and process it. (which is very time consuming)

A regular format writes over everything on the disk, irreversibly deleting everything. (well technically with some expensive equipment you may be able to get some data back, but that's besides the point)

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@dnanielcg25 This is almost correct (re the expensive equipment bit) - There won't be any appreciable difference between expensive equipment and just using the correct software and procedure, as disks are way to dense to take advantage of tunneling microscopy, and have been for quite some time. (Also, a regular format does not overwrite parts of the disk outside the partition, so the Master Boot Record and partition table won't generally be affected) –  davidgo Feb 11 '13 at 7:05

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