ERASE WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR SOFTWARE
Traces of your software usage
Browsers aren’t the only programs to keep track of your recent activities. Other software stores details of the documents, images, videos and other files that you’ve opened, edited, played and saved. This information can be easily viewed by anyone else who uses your computer. For this reason, it’s a good idea to regularly wipe personal data from the tools most likely to compromise your privacy.
Privacy Eraser provides plug-ins for more than 200 popular programs that remove all traces of your usage by performing clean-ups without changing other settings. Click the Applications tab to view available plug-ins for programs and Microsoft Store apps installed on your PC. Our list included 7-Zip, Microsoft Office, Paint. NET, TeamViewer and Windows Defender, but yours will vary.
Select a plug-in, right-click it and choose Quick Clean, and Privacy Eraser will run a set of cleaning tasks for that program. These target files, folders and registry keys that reveal details of what you’ve been doing. You can also click the Custom tab to create your own plug-ins, though this requires you to know the exact items you want to clean. You should always close the relevant program before running its plug-in or the data may not be properly removed.
In PrivaZer, you can access the same software-cleaning feature by choosing ‘Scan specific traces’ then ‘Software use’. Programs are organised into categories such as Downloaders, ‘Video, music software’ and ‘Other software’ ( 1 in our screenshot right) – PrivaZer will automatically detect which tools you have installed.
On our PC, it recognised more software than Privacy Eraser managed, including IrfanView, Thunderbird and VLC. Click the Traces link 2 after running a scan to see details of the files, folders and registry keys that will be cleaned.
Unwanted software – in one click
One feature offered by Privacy Eraser but not by PrivaZer is an uninstaller, which lets you go further than just wiping details of your software activities by removing programs completely. Although you can do this using Windows’ uninstaller or a third-party tool such as BC Uninstaller (www.bcuninstaller.com), it’s a useful additional option for purging your PC of unwanted junk – and stops people knowing you’ve used a certain program.
To access the uninstaller, click the Tools tab ( 1 in our screenshot right) on Privacy Eraser’s home screen and select Uninstaller in the top-right corner 2. This will display an alphabetical list of all the programs you have installed – you can reorder these by install date or size by clicking the appropriate column heading, or search for a specific tool.
Select a program you want to remove from your computer and click the Uninstall button to open either the software’s own uninstaller or the Windows tool. Once you’ve got rid of the unwanted software, it’s worth scanning for and wiping leftover traces using the advice we provide on page 77.