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Permanently wipe all traces of a file

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by amber, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. amber

    amber Flightless Bird

    could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files, i.e. that
    deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Don Phillipson

    Don Phillipson Flightless Bird

    "amber" <amber@nospam.microsoft.news> wrote in message news:%23rsCNnlpKHA.5224@TK2MSFTNGP05.phx.gbl...
    > could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files, i.e. that
    > deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over.


    Google finds 1,560,000 results for "wipe files utility" in 0.31 seconds.

    --
    Don Phillipson
    Carlsbad Springs
    (Ottawa, Canada)
     
  3. C

    C Flightless Bird

    Don Phillipson wrote:
    > "amber" <amber@nospam.microsoft.news> wrote in message news:%23rsCNnlpKHA.5224@TK2MSFTNGP05.phx.gbl...
    >> could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files, i.e. that
    >> deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over.

    >
    > Google finds 1,560,000 results for "wipe files utility" in 0.31 seconds.
    >


    Yeah, but which search result is safe and which search result is drive
    by malware?

    --
    C
     
  4. Paul

    Paul Flightless Bird

    amber wrote:
    > could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files, i.e.
    > that deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over.
    >
    > Thank you.


    Try Heidi Eraser. It's free.

    http://eraser.heidi.ie/

    There is also a tool provided with the OS, but it would only work
    well for an NTFS file system. The tool is called "cipher" and would
    be available in WinXP Pro version. "Cipher" would be a complementary
    tool, something you might use if you hadn't been using Heidi so far.
    "Cipher" will only erase 4GB of white space on FAT32, so is not the
    best choice for a FAT32 file system.

    (If you click the following link, it will download a PDF document
    from the SANS Institute. You need to correct the file extension,
    by adding ".pdf" to the end of the file name once it downloads,
    before you can open the document with Acrobat Reader, and read
    more about how to securely delete files.)

    http://www.sans.org/reading_room/wh...fact_or_fiction_631?show=631.php&cat=incident

    The problem with secure deletion, is Windows is a "leaky bucket".
    There are so many ways for fragments of information to accidentally
    be stored in the wrong place on the computer, that the only
    way to really be sure you removed sensitive information, is
    to delete the entire disk. For example, imagine Microsoft Word
    storing "temporary" copies of the current document you're
    editing. They may not be visible later, but sectors on the
    disk may contain copies of the Word document you were working
    on. That is what I mean by "leaky". It may not be obvious to
    the user, that their information is being splattered about.
    You may think, "oh, my file is right here", but it may be
    here, and here, and here... No amount of Heidi helps when a
    computer program is a "litter bug".

    A solution for this, is to use OSes that require no local storage
    on hard drives at all. A Linux LiveCD comes to mind. (The good ones
    don't mount hard drive partitions unless asked to. And store
    intermediate results in RAM only.) When you shut off the computer power,
    the contents of RAM will discharge, and any temporary files or fragments
    will disappear at the same time. So there are setups that might be more
    amenable to controlling information flow, but they won't be pleasant or
    convenient.

    Good luck,
    Paul
     
  5. John Wunderlich

    John Wunderlich Flightless Bird

    "amber" <amber@nospam.microsoft.news> wrote in
    news:#rsCNnlpKHA.5224@TK2MSFTNGP05.phx.gbl:

    > could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files,
    > i.e. that deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left
    > over.
    >
    > Thank you.
    >


    I've always liked freeware "Eraser"
    <http://sourceforge.net/projects/eraser>

    -- John
     
  6. Brian V

    Brian V Flightless Bird

    How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it again.

    Can you erase individual paritions?

    If I were to get rid of my computer (sell or give away) this info can help
    me. I make some music, and deal with video and images. Some of that could be
    a copyright issue or a legal trouble for me I don't need. I am not a
    professional musician, director, etc. What if I got there though? And if I
    deal with other peoples personal stuff, I need to be able to delete the stuff
    permanently.
     
  7. C

    C Flightless Bird

    Brian V wrote:
    > How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    > sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it again.
    >
    > Can you erase individual paritions?
    >
    > If I were to get rid of my computer (sell or give away) this info can help
    > me. I make some music, and deal with video and images. Some of that could be
    > a copyright issue or a legal trouble for me I don't need. I am not a
    > professional musician, director, etc. What if I got there though? And if I
    > deal with other peoples personal stuff, I need to be able to delete the stuff
    > permanently.


    The only way to permanently delete data off a hard disk is to destroy
    the hard disk. Give it a spin in your microwave; run over it with a semi
    truck; boil it in water; find a large magnet; hydrochloric acid is also
    good. I'm sure if you use your imagination, you can think of other ways
    to destroy a hard drive. Permanently delete data and not destroying the
    hard drive isn't possible with modern forensic techniques. That said,
    these modern forensic techniques don't come cheap so doing a complete
    format and reinstalling your operating system should be enough ;:)

    --
    C
     
  8. Percival P. Cassidy

    Percival P. Cassidy Flightless Bird

    On 02/06/10 06:10 am, C wrote:

    >> How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    >> sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it
    >> again.


    > The only way to permanently delete data off a hard disk is to destroy
    > the hard disk. Give it a spin in your microwave; run over it with a semi
    > truck; boil it in water; find a large magnet; hydrochloric acid is also
    > good. I'm sure if you use your imagination, you can think of other ways
    > to destroy a hard drive. Permanently delete data and not destroying the
    > hard drive isn't possible with modern forensic techniques. That said,
    > these modern forensic techniques don't come cheap so doing a complete
    > format and reinstalling your operating system should be enough ;:)


    You are saying that writing some random pattern of bits in place of the
    pattern of bits that represented a piece of music or an image will still
    leave the original music or image accessible?

    I find that difficult to believe.

    Perce
     
  9. C

    C Flightless Bird

    Percival P. Cassidy wrote:
    > On 02/06/10 06:10 am, C wrote:
    >
    >>> How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    >>> sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it
    >>> again.

    >
    >> The only way to permanently delete data off a hard disk is to destroy
    >> the hard disk. Give it a spin in your microwave; run over it with a semi
    >> truck; boil it in water; find a large magnet; hydrochloric acid is also
    >> good. I'm sure if you use your imagination, you can think of other ways
    >> to destroy a hard drive. Permanently delete data and not destroying the
    >> hard drive isn't possible with modern forensic techniques. That said,
    >> these modern forensic techniques don't come cheap so doing a complete
    >> format and reinstalling your operating system should be enough ;:)

    >
    > You are saying that writing some random pattern of bits in place of the
    > pattern of bits that represented a piece of music or an image will still
    > leave the original music or image accessible?
    >
    > I find that difficult to believe.
    >
    > Perce


    Trust me, forensic techniques can find anything. Whether you believe it
    or not is irrelevant. Research it and you will change your beliefs.

    --
    C
     
  10. Ken Blake, MVP

    Ken Blake, MVP Flightless Bird

    On Fri, 5 Feb 2010 18:45:01 -0800, Brian V
    <BrianV@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

    > How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    > sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it again.
    >
    > Can you erase individual paritions?
    >
    > If I were to get rid of my computer (sell or give away) this info can help
    > me. I make some music, and deal with video and images. Some of that could be
    > a copyright issue or a legal trouble for me I don't need. I am not a
    > professional musician, director, etc. What if I got there though? And if I
    > deal with other peoples personal stuff, I need to be able to delete the stuff
    > permanently.



    There is no simple answer. It depends on how paranoid you want to be.
    Realize that no matter *what* you do, there is always a remnant of
    what was written still present on the disk, and using sophisticated
    techniques, a determined invader can sometimes recover it.For that
    reason, the US government doesn't rely on any software techniques to
    destroy really sensitive data, but physically melts the drive in a
    furnace.

    Most of us don't need that kind of security. Depending on what is on
    the drive, and recognizing that most people will neither know how, nor
    want to bother trying, to recover any old data on the drive, a simple
    format is sufficient for most people. And for the enormous majority of
    people a zero-fill is more than sufficient. If it were me, I wouldn't
    go any further.
    than that.


    --
    Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP (Windows Desktop Experience) since 2003
    Please Reply to the Newsgroup
     
  11. Percival P. Cassidy

    Percival P. Cassidy Flightless Bird

    On 02/06/10 07:58 am, C wrote:

    >>>> How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    >>>> sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it
    >>>> again.


    >>> The only way to permanently delete data off a hard disk is to destroy
    >>> the hard disk. Give it a spin in your microwave; run over it with a semi
    >>> truck; boil it in water; find a large magnet; hydrochloric acid is also
    >>> good. I'm sure if you use your imagination, you can think of other ways
    >>> to destroy a hard drive. Permanently delete data and not destroying the
    >>> hard drive isn't possible with modern forensic techniques. That said,
    >>> these modern forensic techniques don't come cheap so doing a complete
    >>> format and reinstalling your operating system should be enough ;:)


    >> You are saying that writing some random pattern of bits in place of
    >> the pattern of bits that represented a piece of music or an image will
    >> still leave the original music or image accessible?
    >>
    >> I find that difficult to believe.


    > Trust me, forensic techniques can find anything. Whether you believe it
    > or not is irrelevant. Research it and you will change your beliefs.


    Here is the FAQ posted by a company that specializes in forensic data
    recovery:

    http://www.evestigate.com/Computer Forensics FAQ.htm

    Note the advice that a drive must be removed from service as soon as
    possible because once the data has been overwritten it is too late.

    Perce
     
  12. C

    C Flightless Bird

    Percival P. Cassidy wrote:


    > Here is the FAQ posted by a company that specializes in forensic data
    > recovery:
    >
    > http://www.evestigate.com/Computer Forensics FAQ.htm
    >
    > Note the advice that a drive must be removed from service as soon as
    > possible because once the data has been overwritten it is too late.
    >
    > Perce
    >
    >
    >


    See Ken Blake's post.

    --
    C
     
  13. Brian V

    Brian V Flightless Bird

    I have to look for an article I read. It was by an employee for Microsoft.
    His blog. I got it from the tech guy on yahoo.ca/com (I don't know if his
    page is still up though). There were two or three commands he put up for
    educational purposes. They apparently completely erased your drives. But each
    and everytime, he said they looked hard, and found stuff.

    Can someone explain why I have Show hidden files on my computer, and I still
    have found at least three instances where I went into the appropriate
    folders, saw nothing and in a certain program by MISTAKE/FLUKE/WHO KNOWS HOW
    there was some files in that same folder I see nothing in? Some temporary
    files are like this. Some files are all over the place, I don't know why they
    are there or what they do.

    I support the idea to catch criminals, pedophiles, etc.

    I myself have nothing to worry about in that regard. But, I need to be able
    to handle my art (music, video, images, print, etc) in a legal manner and
    cover my copyrights and trademarks if I make something. If I make something
    and decide to release it or not, I have to get the credit and be able to
    fight/win copyright infringments. Or not get sued by a customer. Certain
    things may not get me rich, but it's putting a name out. Someone else doesn't
    deserve any recognition for waht they didn't do. I'm sure, I'll be fine. But
    I have to be able to erase certain things and move it somewhere else, or be
    happy/content nobody else can access it in any way. Because, how will it be
    explained when they have originals or the masters of my stuff? Sure lie
    detector tests can get very advanced, and I can trace the sale/giving away of
    my old computer, which may minimize the problem. But again, the damage may
    have been done. 100+ people got my stuff like a virus, and who's to say I can
    track all of them down for the next 10 years and silence music, video, image,
    print, etc thieves. They got deals and got paid......Can I do anything?

    Now in the situation I mentioned, and how forensic technology is highly
    advanced: if someone were to steal/aquire anothers images, video or music and
    run the files through another program to "erase" the original traces: Do
    those new files have traces of where the original came from?
     
  14. dwn

    dwn Flightless Bird

    On Fri, 5 Feb 2010 13:53:10 +0200, "amber" <amber@nospam.microsoft.news> wrote:

    >could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files, i.e. that
    >deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over.
    >
    >Thank you.


    Try erase at http://www.tolvanen.com/eraser/

    it's free and does a pretty job too. it also erase anything in the Recycle Bin.
     
  15. John Wunderlich

    John Wunderlich Flightless Bird

    =?Utf-8?B?QnJpYW4gVg==?= <BrianV@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in
    news:3605429C-CA0D-4E04-A6D5-ACB65A201A9C@microsoft.com:

    > How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd?
    > Is it sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep
    > finding it again.
    >
    > Can you erase individual paritions?
    >
    > If I were to get rid of my computer (sell or give away) this info
    > can help me. I make some music, and deal with video and images.
    > Some of that could be a copyright issue or a legal trouble for me
    > I don't need. I am not a professional musician, director, etc.
    > What if I got there though? And if I deal with other peoples
    > personal stuff, I need to be able to delete the stuff permanently.


    Notwithstanding the other comments about some traces that might be
    recovered by expensive forensic techniques, the program "Eraser" (at
    least the 5.x versions) has the option to create a "Nuke Boot Disk".
    You then boot your computer from this disk and it will wipe your
    entire hard drive stem-to-stern with the selected wiping pattern.

    -- John
     
  16. John John - MVP

    John John - MVP Flightless Bird

    C wrote:
    > Percival P. Cassidy wrote:
    >> On 02/06/10 06:10 am, C wrote:
    >>
    >>>> How does a person go about erasing absolutly everything on a hd? Is it
    >>>> sucessful? I read that you can keep finding stuff, and keep finding it
    >>>> again.

    >>
    >>> The only way to permanently delete data off a hard disk is to destroy
    >>> the hard disk. Give it a spin in your microwave; run over it with a semi
    >>> truck; boil it in water; find a large magnet; hydrochloric acid is also
    >>> good. I'm sure if you use your imagination, you can think of other ways
    >>> to destroy a hard drive. Permanently delete data and not destroying the
    >>> hard drive isn't possible with modern forensic techniques. That said,
    >>> these modern forensic techniques don't come cheap so doing a complete
    >>> format and reinstalling your operating system should be enough ;:)

    >>
    >> You are saying that writing some random pattern of bits in place of
    >> the pattern of bits that represented a piece of music or an image will
    >> still leave the original music or image accessible?
    >>
    >> I find that difficult to believe.
    >>
    >> Perce

    >
    > Trust me, forensic techniques can find anything.


    Urban legends and fairy tales.


    > Whether you believe it
    > or not is irrelevant. Research it and you will change your beliefs.


    Instead of us going on a wild goose chase for the nonexistent please
    provide us with your research.

    John
     
  17. amber

    amber Flightless Bird

    "dwn >" <dwn <dwnns@nonet.net> wrote in message
    news:hkkhbh029uo@news1.newsguy.com...
    > On Fri, 5 Feb 2010 13:53:10 +0200, "amber" <amber@nospam.microsoft.news>

    wrote:
    >
    > >could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files, i.e.

    that
    > >deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over.
    > >
    > >Thank you.

    >
    > Try erase at http://www.tolvanen.com/eraser/
    >
    > it's free and does a pretty job too. it also erase anything in the Recycle

    Bin.
    ---------

    thanks a lot. Has anybody tried Sure Delete program? its only 770kB
    http://www.wizard-industries.com/sure-delete/

    Just want to delete personal stuff permanently before leaving a working
    computer. No to erase all hard drive(there is WipeDrive utility for this).
     
  18. ctowers

    ctowers Flightless Bird

    amber wrote:
    > "dwn >" <dwn <dwnns@nonet.net> wrote in message
    > news:hkkhbh029uo@news1.newsguy.com...
    >> On Fri, 5 Feb 2010 13:53:10 +0200, "amber"
    >> <amber@nospam.microsoft.news> wrote:
    >>
    >>> could someone recommend good utiluty to permanently erase files,
    >>> i.e. that deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left
    >>> over.
    >>>
    >>> Thank you.

    >>
    >> Try erase at http://www.tolvanen.com/eraser/
    >>
    >> it's free and does a pretty job too. it also erase anything in the
    >> Recycle

    > Bin.
    > ---------
    >
    > thanks a lot. Has anybody tried Sure Delete program? its only 770kB
    > http://www.wizard-industries.com/sure-delete/
    >
    > Just want to delete personal stuff permanently before leaving a
    > working computer. No to erase all hard drive(there is WipeDrive
    > utility for this).
    >


    Why pose a question, then ignore the replies?
     

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