Unallocated Clusters – An Overview
Unallocated Clusters are areas of deleted data that have lost allocation within the file system.
When files are deleted from a computer or storage device, the data forming that file is not physically removed from the drive, instead, the entry within the Master File Table is altered to remove the allocation of that space on the device and the area then becomes available for newer files to be stored.
This means that the data forming the file is no longer allocated within the Master File Table and it becomes unallocated space.
Due to this, unallocated clusters often contain files or fragments of files that were previously live on the device, yet have been deleted and are no longer accessible to the normal user.
When data becomes unallocated, the file attributes, including the original file name, directory path and time/date stamps are lost and this makes it difficult to identify the point of creation or the origins of a specific file within unallocated clusters.
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