In the ongoing battle of DOD 5220 and NIST SP800-88 and which secure overwrite procedure is the most suited to ensure no keyboard nor lab recovery of data stored on magnetic media; Microsoft has made further improvements to the Windows format utility to help make the choice that much easier.
With Windows 7, Microsoft changed the format utility to write a pass of 0′s with the /p:N option, with N being the number of passes that you wish to write to the drive.
Microsoft has further changed this command in Windows 8 to meet the following behavior:
/p:N – Writes a single 0 pass of zeroes, followed by N passes of random numbers. If you specify 0 for N, it will write a single pass of 0′s.
Pass 1: 0′s
Pass 2: 5′s
Pass 3: 1′s
While I do not know the specifics of how the bytes are chosen (whether it uses 0-9, or the ASCII table, or randomly chosen byte values), this is a much closer step to ensuring that your data is secure when you wish to reuse media.
Interestingly, different solid state media handle this differently. On SSD media, would it be more appropriate to leverage TRIM to ensure that SSD garbage collection clears the deleted data?