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Permanently Erase Files

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

An important concern with respect to computer privacy has to do with the security of deleted data. For most, deleting a file is a two-step process in which the first step involves placing a file into the Recycle Bin. This is an intermediate step in the deletion process, and you can easily take the file out of the Recycle Bin if you do not intend on removing it. One would think that emptying the Recycle Bin is the final step, but this does not actually erase the data from your computer. Data will actually stay on your computer until it is replaced, or overwritten, with other data.

While it becomes much harder to recover files once they have been emptied from the Recycle Bin, it is not impossible, and there are many software packages dedicated to recovering files that have been deleted.

The reason for this is that deleting something only removes its record from the index, or catalog of files. In order to keep track of where all of your data is on disk, your computer creates an index of where the data is written. Instead looking through the whole disk to find one file, the computer only has to look up its location in the index. Thus, it is much quicker to reference the index before attempting to retrieve data. So, when you delete a file, your computer actually only removes the entry for that file in the index, rather than erasing the data at that specific location.

To Permanently Erase Files You Must Overwrite Them

In order to securely erase data from your hard drive you must overwrite it with different data. If other data is not written on top of the data you wish to erase, there is a chance it could be recovered by manually reading from the disk. Because of this, private information cannot be securely removed from your system without doing more than just emptying the Recycle Bin. Government agencies and computer scientists have established standards for securely erasing data. These techniques include fill zeros, the US Department of Defense standard (5220.22M), the National Security Agency standard and the Gutmann method.

Filling zeros is a lot like it sounds: by replacing every piece of data with all zeros, it is very difficult to recover any information that used to be on the disk. However, a computer scientist named Peter Gutman theorized that by viewing a disk with a powerful microscope, one could decipher the data previously written on an overwritten drive. As such, he developed the Gutmann method of securely erasing data, which involves writing over a disk 35 times, with 35 different types of new data.

Standards for Securely Erasing Data

  • Filling Zeroes (1 pass)
  • US Department of Defense (3 passes)
  • National Security Agency (7 passes)
  • Peter Gutmann (35 passes)

Permenently Delete Files

Permanently Delete Files with PC Confidential

PC Confidential is a program that was designed for the purpose of managing and securely deleting any private data on your computer before an authorized user can gain access to it. With PC Confidential’s easy-to-use File Shredder, permanently erasing any file is a snap. You can even select your preferrred method of securely erasing files; including Fill Zeros, US DoD, NSA, and Peter Gutmann.

Delete AIM History & More!

PC Confidential will:

  • Erase Your Internet History
  • Clear Your Personal Search History
  • Delete Online Tracking Cookies
  • Clear Internet Cache
  • Delete Temporary Internet Files
  • Erase All Media Player History (Videos Watched)
  • Destroy All Online Chat Logs
  • Erase Recent Documents List
  • Delete the Locked Index.dat File
  • Permanently Erase Files
  • …and Much More!

And what’s more, PC Confidential will do all this automatically!

You can set PC Confidential to erase history and all of your private information every time you exit your web browser. That way, if you ever have to close out of your PC in a hurry you don’t have to worry about the sensitive information you may be leaving behind. All the files stored on your computer could result in a huge invasion of your privacy. You can’t afford to leave this sensitive information out in the open.

With PC Confidential, your privacy is secure.

Learn more about PC Confidential or download a Free Personal Privacy Scan.

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