Can I use a Windows recovery option after wiping the hard drive with DBAN?

KamilKozyra January 11, 2013

Hi everybody. I want to sell my laptop. If I use DBAN to wipe the C drive (main partition), can I then use the built-in recovery partition to re-install Windows or will using the recovery partition wipe out my original Windows info? Also, where do I find the Windows.old folder after using a recovery partition?

Just to clarify, I would use an “out-of-box” state when using a recovery partition.

Thank you!

  1. Kamil Ko
    January 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks everyone for your advice.

    Would using the built-in recovery partition to do a "out-of-box" state (going back to factory defaults), would that wipe out my current data (private info)?

    • ha14
      January 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      yap it will format the hard drive/partition containing windows in order to re-install a clean one (you will get it as new) so you will loose all data if you didn't made a backup first.

  2. Alan Wade
    January 13, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Providing the recovery partition wasnt on the same drive - yes otherwise definately not.

  3. Kamil Ko
    January 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you for all the feedback. If I just go back to an out-of-box state using the built-in recovery, will my personal data be accessible?

    • Jim Chambers
      January 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Your personal data will be recoverable if it hasn't been overwritten by the recovery process. Use a program such as CCleaner as others suggested to wipe free space ( it writes zeros over all unused space on drive).

  4. Silhoutte james
    January 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Low Level format if you looking for total erase.

    After Low Level format it will delete every thing i mean total delete.

    You have reset all detail info on HDD.

    If you make a mistake on any number on HDD info there are no way to turn back to normal HDD.


    here this is one of the good software you can have.

    option 2 after clean install windows 7

    Please download CCleaner and check wipe free space.

    this process will take long long long.... so do this process when your sleep.

    this will delete all shadow data on your HDD.

    January 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Hello, as long as your recovery partition was not overwritten by DBAN, you should be able to recover to factory standards. Just be very careful when selecting the correct partition. By the way, before doing this, make sure to make a full backup/clone your system just in case. Also, make sure to enter BIOS and select to give you the recovery option at startup.

    If your system is recovered to factory state after overwriting the operating system's partition, there should not be an windows.old folder. That only happens when you repair or upgrade.

  6. ha14
    January 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

    you can use the factory recovery option, this will format hard drive and reinstall windows.

  7. Oron Joffe
    January 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Hi, that actually depends on your laptop! If the recovery software resides *solely* in ROM and in the recovery partition, then yes, you should be able to do this. If however, the recovery application is installed on the C: drive (and I've seen far too many laptops where this is the case), then wiping the C: drive will disable the recovery option.
    If you are not sure and cannot find a definitive answer in the manual, here are two alternative approaches:
    1. Back up the *entire* hard disc using a disc imaging package such as Paragon Backup & Recovery or Clonezilla, then use DBAN and try. If recovery fails, you can at least recover the system to how it was before you started...
    2. Install CCleaner. Create a new user with Administrative permissions. Log off and log on as that new user. Delete all other users. Now run CCLeaner and the "Drive Wiper" (in the "Tools" section) to erase "free space only". Once that is done, use the recovery software to rebuild the system.

    • Kamil Ko
      January 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      You said that the recovery application may be installed on the C: drive - can I make a partition in Windows and use software to "move" the recovery partition into the newly created partition?

      • Anonymous
        January 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

        I'm not sure what you mean. The recovery software (whether in ROM or on disc) usually assumes that there is one recovery partition, which is the first primary partition in FAT32 format. You can "move" the partition on disc, but it would still have to be the first FAT32 partition, so that's not going to help you much.
        The safest course of action would be to back up the entire disc, as mentioned above, and then to try to rebuild C: using the recovery partition (usually takes only a few minutes). You can then either wipe the free space with CCleaner or wipe the entire partition and try to restore it again. In the worst case scenario, you'll need to recover the whole disc from your backup.

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