How to erase data com­pletely

APC Australia - - » Recover Your Data -

We’ve dis­cussed the ways in which your drive stores files and how they don’t re­ally get re­moved when you delete them or for­mat your drive. What if there are files on there that you re­ally want to stay deleted, and be ex­cluded from any re­cov­ery ef­forts? We can use a lit­tle of our knowl­edge of file stor­age to work out how to oblit­er­ate old data — the best way to make sure files don’t rise from the dead is to en­sure that ‘free’ space on your drive is com­pletely over­writ­ten. You could painstak­ingly write files to your drive un­til it’s full, but that’s mad­ness. Bet­ter to use a se­cure dele­tion tool.

You have a few choices here, but we tend to fa­vor Eraser ( eraser.heidi.ie), which goes over­board in its ef­forts, over­writ­ing your files sev­eral times with spe­cific ran­dom data pat­terns in or­der to re­move them — and on mag­netic drives, the mi­cro­scopic traces they leave be­hind — com­pletely. We rec­om­mend you keep it hang­ing around: you can se­curely delete files just by drop­ping them on the app, or even have it grind through any unused space on your par­ti­tions, ap­ply­ing its al­go­rithms to that space to scrub it clean of any ghostly data.

If you re­ally want to get rid of all the data on a drive — if you’re pass­ing your hard­ware on or re­cy­cling it, say — Sys­tem Res­cue CD in­cludes the tool Wipe ( wipe.source­forge.net), which does an in­tense, thor­ough, re­peated over­writ­ing of ev­ery byte of data on a drive. Or if the hard­ware doesn’t mat­ter, and you’re ab­so­lutely des­per­ate to get rid of it, do as one of APC’s alumni once did: Take a ham­mer to your drive and throw it in a lake. But think of the fish be­fore you do it.

Eraser can make up to 35 passes over your data for ab­so­lute re­moval.

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