What happens exactly to a USB stick when it's formatted?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by Cliff Huylebroeck, Jun 15, 2010.

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  1. Cliff Huylebroeck

    Cliff Huylebroeck Registered Member

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    When I format a USB stick then I wonder what has happened.

    I know that the stick is divided in blocks of a certain length, but I don't know whether something is written to all these blocks, that makes the data unrecoverable.

    There are programs of which the writers claim that they can recover what has been erased from a USB stick, but I never saw it work.

    So my questions are:
    1. Is it possible to recover data from a USB stick after deletion?
    2. Is it possible to recover data from a USB stick after formatting?
    3. Is the data (partly) shredded after formatting?
    4. Is there in this case a difference between FAT16 and FAT32?
     
  2. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    No
     
  3. katio

    katio Guest

    With HDDs there was/is that debate whether once overwritten data can be restored. Not so on flash storage, overwriting data means it's definitely gone.
    AFAIK when selecting full format in Vista/7 the partition is zeroed out.
    Therefore:

    yes
    depends
    depends
    no

    Another thing to keep in mind is wear leveling, I don't know how to mitigate this risk short of physically destroying the media.
     
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