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Hard Disk Eraser Glossary

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8. Glossary of Terms

BIOS settings

Basic Input Output Subsystem. This programmable chip controls how information is passed to various devices in the computer system. A typical method to access the BIOS settings screen is to press F1, F2, F8 or F10 during the boot sequence.

boot priority

BIOS settings allow you to run a boot sequence from a USB / floppy drive, a hard drive or a CD-ROM drive. You may configure the order that your computer searches these physical devices for the boot sequence. The first device in the order list has the first boot priority. For example, to boot from a CD-ROM drive instead of a hard drive, place the CD-ROM drive ahead of the hard drive in priority.

compressed cluster

When you set a file or folder property to compress data, the file or folder uses less disk space. While the size of the file is smaller, it must use a whole cluster in order to exist on the hard drive. As a result, compressed clusters contain "file slack space". This space may contain residual confidential data from the file that previously occupied this space. KillDisk can wipe out the residual data without touching the existing data.

cluster

A logical group of disk sectors, managed by the operating system, for storing files. Each cluster is assigned a unique number when it is used. The operating system keeps track of clusters in the hard disk's root records or MFT records.

free cluster

A cluster that is not occupied by a file. This space may contain residual confidential data from the file that previously occupied this space. KillDisk can wipe out the residual data.

file slack space

The smallest file (and even an empty folder) takes up an entire cluster. A 10-byte file will take up 2,048 bytes if that is the cluster size. File slack space is the unused portion of a cluster. This space may contain residual confidential data from the file that previously occupied this space. KillDisk can wipe out the residual data without touching the existing data.

deleted boot records

All disks start with a boot sector. In a damaged disk, if the location of the boot records is known, the partition table can be reconstructed. The boot record contains a file system identifier.

ISO

An International Organization for Standardization ISO-9660 file system is a standard CD-ROM file system that allows you to read the same CD-ROM whether you're on a PC, Mac, or other major computer platform. Disk images of ISO-9660 file systems (ISO images) are a common way to electronically transfer the contents of CD-ROMs. They often have the filename extension .ISO (though not necessarily), and are commonly referred to as "ISOs".

lost cluster

A cluster that has an assigned number in the file allocation table, even though it is not assigned to any file. You can free up disk space by reassigning lost clusters. In DOS and Windows, you can find lost clusters with the ScanDisk utility.

MFT records

Master File Table. A file that contains the records of every other file and directory in an NTFS-formatted hard disk drive. The operating system needs this information to access the files.

root records

File Allocation Table. A file that contains the records of every other file and directory in a FAT-formatted hard disk drive. The operating system needs this information to access the files. There are FAT32, FAT16 and FAT versions.

sector

The smallest unit that can be accessed on a disk. Tracks are concentric circles around the disk and the sectors are segments within each circle.

unallocated space

Space on a hard disk where no partition exists. A partition may have been deleted or damaged or a partition may not have been created.

unused space in MFT records

The performance of the computer system depends a lot on the performance of the MFT. When you delete files, the MFT entry for that file is not deleted, it is marked as deleted. This is called unused space in the MFT. If unused space is not removed from the MFT, the size of the table could grow to a point where it becomes fragmented, affecting the performance of the MFT and possibly the performance of the computer. This space may also contain residual confidential data (file names, file attributes, resident file data) from the files that previously occupied these spaces. KillDisk can wipe out the residual data without touching the existing data.

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