Formatting just part of the hard drive

  Rotenone 10:06 20 Feb 2009

Is it possible to completely delete(clean-up,format) that part of the hard drive that holds the 'emptied recycle bin' information without formatting the whole of the hard drive?
I believe that when the 'Recycle Bin' is emptied,the information being removed actually stays on the hard drive in a place that is especially reserved for this function. Mine now has several gigabytes in it and I would like to completely remove it from the hard drive without affecting any other part of the hard drive.

  The Brigadier 10:14 20 Feb 2009

Unless it's in a partition then the answer is no.

  bremner 10:21 20 Feb 2009

Yes and No

No you can not only overwrite the Recycle Bin data.

Yes it is possible to overwrite all the unallocated space on the hard drive using something like Eraser click here

  bremner 10:23 20 Feb 2009

Just one other thing FYI - other than in Vista a full format of a hard drive does not overwrite the data area.

  gazzaho 11:17 20 Feb 2009

When you hit the delete button data it is sent by default to the recycle bin, from here you can restore it if needed at a later date, when you Shift+delete the file bypasses the recycle bin and cannot be restored. The recycle bin is like temporary delete storage for files in case of unintentionally deleting the wrong file. Deleting the contents of the recycle bin should be enough to free up space on your drive.

All data on a drive is not deleted but instead the reference to where the data is kept is freed up for the system to overwrite that part of the drive, specialist software can retrieve this deleted data, data recovery firms use this software to recover hard drives for people who cannot access the information on their drives, therefor anyone with the software can read a formatted drive and retrieve personal information, that's why they say to physically destroy the drive when you sell a computer or use a program such as drivekill to overwrite it multiple times to make it harder to recover data. If you want to permanently delete a file then use Eraser as bremner suggests, it overwrites the file multiple times with random data in order to effectively destroy it.

  Rotenone 18:48 20 Feb 2009

Thank you evwerybody for your help and especially 'gazzaho' for an extremely informative answer.

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