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Telamon

Low Level Disk IO on Windows?

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Can I get at the file allocation table from C on a modern Windows machine? As a fun project I want to write a utility to encrypt my back up disk drives by saving their FATs to off-disk storage, then wiping the FATs to effectively "brick" the hard drives. My thought is that this would be a very fast way to encrypt a disk drive - no need to encrypt every single byte on the drive. The thing is, I would bet low-level IO calls are kernel-privileged ops in XP. Otherwise you would see virii going around nuking people's drives.

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What you're doing would be fast, but it's also pretty useless, particularly on a backup drive, which is probably going to be pretty defragmented. If someone is determined enough, they just have to get/write a utility for reading disk sectors, and they'll be able to access all the information on your drive anyway. True, it won't be as easy as opening a folder in explorer, but if you've got information there in plain text or other recognisable formats, it'll be trivial to read it out.
You could try zipping the data too, but that's probably not a great idea for a backup. In fact, encryping the backup in a way that'll make it difficult to recover if you lose the original FAT is a bad idea anyway [smile]

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Just convert the disk to NTFS, set it to encrypted and done.

However, the moment you lose your NTFS credentials or the recovery disk, your entire disk is lost and needs to be recreated.

Toolmaker

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