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Acronis Drive Cleaner - Unneccesary wipe options?

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Posts: 13
Comments: 9

Hi guys

I hope an easy question.

Could someone just clarify why it is neccessary to do 3 or more passes when wiping with Acronis Drive Cleanser (or any other similar software?)

I tried to explain the purpose of drive cleaner to someone else and I realised I did not understand the wiping process clearly enough myself!


My understanding is that data is held on the hard drive by firstly magnetising a thin layer of suitable material on the platter to be 'low level formatted' to allow the controller to recognise each of the blocks.

It is then formatted again during the installation of the OS (e.g. XP) using the low level formatting as the reference point.

The OS then stores information on the drive by changing a 'character' or sector as a  binary number i.e. an equivalent of 'FF in hex.'


Surely if each 'character' or sector is changed to something new, you cannot recover what was there before - because it has been changed.

Surely it is impossible to recover what was there before (using ANY utility?) because the binary '0''s and '1's have been changed and you can't reverse it.

So why repeat over-writing 'FF' in many passes?

Surely the very first time you change it it cannot be recovered.

I can understand disk recovery utilities which seek to find information on the drive which has not been over written with 'FF', but they cannot recover what has been changed by writing an FF 'over' it.


So. To summarise, why use many passes in Drive Cleanser. Surely once is enough? As you can tell, I'm not trying to be a cleverclogs or argumentative, I just don't understand clearly enough.

Can someone help please?



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Posts: 1
Comments: 1

My son is a computer science major and I have asked him the same question. Apparently, the multiple overwrites are not as important on new disk as older ones. The data is stored on the platter in multiple concentric curves and +/- polarities in a magnetic bit (a 0 or 1). The older disks had more room for the circles and would leave traces of the old magnetic polarity at the borders. Thus it was possible (with very sophisticated equipment) to read the old data. The newer disks have the circles much closer together and this is less likely to occur, although I don't doubt our government probably has the capabilities to do this too. So, anyway, that is the reason for multiple overwrites. Hope that helps:-)