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Thread: What can be found on computers?

  1. #1 What can be found on computers? 
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Can forensics technicians really recover info from PCs if you emptied your recycle bin, cleared cache & cookies and run a program that cleans out junk files?


    Steven
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    WVBIG, yes, because every file that you use remains on the hard drive unless if the computer is reformatted. Deleting and clearing don't remove information from computers, these just hide files from the sights of hard drives. That fools a computer in to thinking that there is more room which can increase speed or at least avoid a sluggish machine. Authorities have data recovery programs for the reason that you mention.


    Last edited by Theresa; June 16th, 2019 at 11:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG View Post
    Can forensics technicians really recover info from PCs if you emptied your recycle bin, cleared cache & cookies and run a program that cleans out junk files?
    Just to expand a little on Theresa's answer, a delete operation does not actually delete a file. It merely marks the space as available to the OS for future use. Subsequent storage operations may overwrite some or all of the "deleted" file, but unless that happens, the information is all there.

    True deletion thus requires overwriting of the entirety of the contents of the file. Because that is time consuming, it's not done in the ordinary course of things. Specialised programs, such as DBAN, will do this. If discarding or giving away an old computer, one should run DBAN (or similar program) to prevent unwanted recovery of data from your storage media.

    Intelligence agencies have the ability to recover data from overwritten files, amazingly enough, although it is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you want to protect your data from them, physical destruction of the media is your only true option.
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