Windows 7 "Full" Format & USB Flash Drives

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by TheKid7, Oct 22, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Posts:
    3,469
    It is my understanding that both Windows Vista & Windows 7 (excluding Windows XP) will do a "zero-write" operation as part of a "Full" Format.

    Question: Will a Windows 7 "Full" Format also do a "zero-write" to a USB Flash Drive's MBR/Partition Tables?

    I want a simple method to make sure that a USB Flash Drive is "Clean" prior to its use.

    Thanks in Advance.
     
  2. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Posts:
    453
    Location:
    US
    Hi TheKid7 :)

    This link does not address all your question, but perhaps may be helpful?
    http://helpdeskgeek.com/help-desk/format-usb-flash-drives-showing-the-wrong-capacity-the-easy-way/

    As far as the Win7 full format, I would think if you first deleted any partitions on the flash drive using Disk Management console, then proceeded with full format, it should clean the flash drive up and update the flash drive boot record after a full format. I do not think it would 'zero' out the MBR data, but would update the MBR to reflect the fully formatted drive. To literally 'zero' out the MBR, I would personally use an MBR utility to wipe the MBR if that is what you would like to do, such as MBR Wizard, etc.

    The above link also addresses an issue some have had with improper capacity being listed for some flash drives that have been formatted by other means, etc., and offers a tool that may prove helpful.

    Just some thoughts :)

    Jim
     
  3. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Posts:
    3,469
    Thanks.

    That is what I think would happen.

    On my own newly purchased USB Flash Drives and Hard Drives, I use BootIt Bare Metal to:

    1. Delete the MBR followed by
    2. A "zero-write" to all sectors.

    I was trying to suggest to someone else a simple and free way to make sure that a USB Flash Drive was "clean".
     
  4. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Posts:
    453
    Location:
    US
    Good job :)

    Bootit BM would definitely do the job. It's one of the best little utilities around for quick work on disks, etc., and has features that are quite capable.

    Hard to beat any terabyte product. I have the entire suite :)
     
  5. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Posts:
    3,469
    I also have the entire suite.
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,634
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    TheKid7,

    Neither format does a wipe. A Quick format omits a chkdsk.
     
  7. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Posts:
    3,469
    Thanks.

    I got it mixed up with the special command line low level format using a Windows 7 Recovery Disk.

    format e: /fs:NTFS /p:2

    where 'e:' is the disk/partition where you want to do a NTFS format and zero write.
     
  8. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Posts:
    2,551
    Hi Brian,

    in Vista and later a full format always zero's out the disk.
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941961

    Panagiotis
     
  9. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Posts:
    1,388
    Location:
    Lancashire
    thanks for confirming this pandolouk :thumb:

    i had inkling this would be the case after running deep recovery programs on full formatted USB's in windows 7
     
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,634
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Panagiotis,

    Thanks. I guess that demonstrates how often I do a full format in Windows.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.