using eraser after a reformat


New Member
A few weeks ago I reformatted my hard drive and reinstalled windows xp. A few days ago it occurred to me that I may have sensitive information that I don't want anyone to get a hold of. So I installed eraser and ran the scan on the unused HDD space. Here is my question, is any of my previous data (before the reformat) still accessible since I ran the eraser program after the reformat. In other words, could there be data traces hiding and I need to start all over, or will the eraser tool pretty much wipe out everything before the reformat regardless.

Let me know if my question is confusing.

thanks for help
A reformat on its own will normally not remove all traces of previous data from the disk. If you erased data or wiped free space before you reformatted the hard disk, the data remains erased and the free space remains wiped (although some erased areas will almost certainly have been overwritten by the new Windows installation, which is of course not a problem). The reformat will not undo the erasing/wiping.

If you remain uncomfortable, use Eraser to wipe the free space on your system drive. Choose your moment; it can be a long process. Using the default single pass method should be fine, unless you figure that someone will be using a scanning electron microscope to look at your drive any time soon.

Hope this helps.

If someone's planning to use an electron microscope on your drive then perhaps it may save you time to just incinerate the drive -- there isn't publicly available information about these things yet. What you can also do is to image the drive and run DBAN on it then restoring the image, if you really want to be sure.
Joel said:
If someone's planning to use an electron microscope on your drive ...
... it's rather unlikely that you'd be posting on a forum such as this.

What a program such as Eraser does is make data inaccessible in all but wholly exceptional circumstances. Decent security on your house may not make it burglar-proof, but it will strongly discourage the burglar from making the attempt.