Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

file shredding


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 sniper8752

sniper8752

  • Members
  • 380 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:07:06 PM

Posted 14 September 2012 - 04:25 PM

Anyone use this program? http://www.fileshredder.org/
What is the best way to be sure that you have totally erased/deleted a file off of your hard drive?

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 Andrew

Andrew

    Bleepin' Night Watchman


  • Moderator
  • 8,258 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Right behind you
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:11 PM

Under modern versions of Windows, you can use the built-in cipher.exe tool to securely wipe free disk space after deleting sensitive files the normal way.

Edited by Andrew, 14 September 2012 - 06:12 PM.


#3 sniper8752

sniper8752
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 380 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:07:06 PM

Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:03 PM

hm, gui?

#4 Nanobyte

Nanobyte

  • Members
  • 431 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:48 PM

I use Hard Disk Scrubber. A bit tedious because it only does one folder at a time (ie not a folder tree). I transfer my files into a single erase folder per drive.

Don't forget that erasing files does not remove them from the MFT so if the file titles are incriminating, you have to erase them too! I use WipeMFT. It's a minor app and there is no guarantee what it really does. I don't know who they are. Using Piriform Recuva to view the remnants, it definitely clears the MFT of unused filenames.

Edited by Nanobyte, 20 September 2012 - 10:49 PM.


#5 sniper8752

sniper8752
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 380 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:07:06 PM

Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:09 AM

Don't forget that erasing files does not remove them from the MFT so if the file titles are incriminating, you have to erase them too! I use WipeMFT. It's a minor app and there is no guarantee what it really does. I don't know who they are. Using Piriform Recuva to view the remnants, it definitely clears the MFT of unused filenames.


what do you mean by this? and why would you use it if you don't know who they are/what it does?

#6 Nanobyte

Nanobyte

  • Members
  • 431 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:33 AM

If you have erased files, the filenames are still on your PC in the MFT. Try running any recovery software like Piriform Recuva to see the listings. If you had a file "money transfers to swiss bank account 2012.doc" you may not want to have that name hanging around on your PC, even if the contents of the file are no longer retrievable. If you are using something like Hard Disk Scrubber, the situation is avoided because it renames the files first, overwrites with random data and deletes so the content and filename are irretrievable. Any files on your PC prior to using that software will still have the filename in a retrievable state. Those would be removed with WipeMFT.

All applications come with some risk and the pros and cons have to be weighed. You and I have no idea who the authors are. I don't know anything about the folk at Mozilla or SourceForge either. I assume risk is lower with software from them but not necessarily absent. Privacy policies etc are quite meaningless in the big scheme of things so every new app is a risk. WipeMFT works for me and deletes unused filenames from the MFT. I take my normal precautions such as blocking apps with my firewall where possible. I know what it does for me but I don't know what else it does any more than I know what Chrome does behind my back.

#7 sniper8752

sniper8752
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 380 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:07:06 PM

Posted 21 September 2012 - 05:18 PM

so either hard disk scrubber, sdelete, or wipemft, they all do the same job? is one better than the other? what exactly is mft, and how does it work?

#8 Nanobyte

Nanobyte

  • Members
  • 431 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:12 PM

I have not used sdelete so I don't know exactly what it can do. It is probably similar in function to Hard Disk Scrubber. Hard Disk Scrubber can do various degrees of overwrite from 1-stage simple overwrite to 9-stage DoD. It looks like FileShredder is very similar to Hard Disk Scrubber in that it does various degrees of overwrite and can wipe unused disk space.

To put my previous comments in perspective, on the web page of FileShredder, the guy seems sincere and adds the caveat "Please note that I can not give any kind of support for File Shredder. I did my best to make this software useful and as reliable as possible but I can't an." I think that sentence was probably intended to finish something like, "...I can't anticipate all circumstances and eventualities". At least he was honest. The same comment is probably true for any software written by minor companies or individuals, User beware. These are powerful utilities that make changes that cannot be undone, hence my previous warnings. Until you are sure it works for you, back up important files (not the ones being erased).

MFT is the Master File Table, a list of files and where all the parts of the file are on the HDD. When you delete a file, the actual file data is still on the HDD but the space is marked as unused in the MFT. However, the filename is still in the MFT. Over time, much of the original file data will be overwritten. I don't think formatting a HDD stops previous data from being recovered because it is only going to overwrite once. To all but the most determined that data is not recoverable after a format but it can be with forensic software and hardware as used by government agencies. To make data impossible to retrieve you have to use multistage overwriting which ensures the magnetic signature on each magnetic region (bit) cannot be traced back. When I throw away a HDD, I take the cover off and go at it with a 6lb hammer. Even the FBI can't put Humpty Dumpty together again.

1. To remove data from the unused part of the HDD (where some/all the old deleted files reside) you would do a free space scrub/wipe (eg with Hard Disk Scrubber). Any part of the HDD that is not allocated to an active file on the MFT is overwritten. This is also available as an option in CCleaner.

2. To remove old filenames from the MFT you would use something like WipeMFT. It simply removes the filenames from the MFT that are not currently active. It does not remove the file data, see step 1.

Once you have done the above, you would use Hard Disk Scrubber to permanently erase critical files. You don't really need to run WipeMFT again because Hard Disk Scrubber gives the files new names, Scrub_001 etc, before overwriting so the original names are gone for good. If you forgot to do a secure delete for some critical files, you would repeat steps 1 & 2.

#9 sniper8752

sniper8752
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 380 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:07:06 PM

Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:29 PM

so as i understand it, wipe mft and hard disk scrubber go hand-in-hand? is there one utility that can do this, alone?

#10 Nanobyte

Nanobyte

  • Members
  • 431 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:29 PM

I've no idea. Personally I would not want to do both every usage although some apps may offer a choice. I prefer free too. Google it. Perhaps others have ideas.

#11 OSO ROJO

OSO ROJO

  • Members
  • 35 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Salt Lake City, UT
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:34 PM

I am curious how WipeMFT works .. when I try to scan the HDD I get can't lock drive error

#12 Nanobyte

Nanobyte

  • Members
  • 431 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:05:06 PM

Posted 23 September 2012 - 04:52 PM

..... when I try to scan the HDD I get can't lock drive error


I assume you mean it indicates the drive is locked. You have to ensure nothing is happening on the drive - it tells you that. If the drive remains locked, do the wipe shortly after a reboot. I occasionally get the drive locked indication. I'm guessing it's no different to files or folders you cannot delete that require using an app like Unlocker.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users