APC Australia



Private files and folders

As well as performing system-wide clean-ups of leftover traces, Privacy Eraser and PrivaZer can also securely delete specific items. This is useful for erasing confidenti­al documents, personal photos and private videos from your

PC, to ensure they can’t be recovered. As we mentioned earlier, when a file is deleted in the usual way, its contents remain available until its data is overwritte­n, along with details of its name, modificati­on date and location. Only thoroughly ‘shredding’ the sensitive item will prevent this data from falling into the wrong hands.

To securely erase files and folders in Privacy Eraser, click the File Shredder tab on the home screen. Click ‘Add files’ or ‘Add folders’ to select the items you want to delete – you can add several of each to the queue – then click Start to ‘shred’ them. The catch is that the free version of Privacy Eraser only overwrites data once – when you click ‘Security options’ to increase the number of passes, you’ll be prompted to upgrade to the Profession­al Edition. Extra security options including ‘Scramble file/ folder name’ and ‘Reset file size to zero’ also require a paid-for licence, which is annoying but one of the few restrictio­ns in an otherwise excellent free program.

In PrivaZer, you can shred files and folders without limitation­s by clicking ‘Delete without a trace’ on the home screen, then either ‘Sensitive files’ or ‘Sensitive directorie­s’. Select the item you want to delete – press Ctrl-A to choose more than one – then click either Open (for files) or Select (for folders).

When PrivaZer’s ‘Delete without leaving a trace’ window opens, click ‘See advanced options’ (see screenshot above) to choose how many passes it should perform when overwritin­g data. These go up to 35, but – as mentioned earlier – three passes is sufficient to make data impossible to recover. Click ‘Start’ and PrivaZer will thoroughly shred the item, including all references to it in the MFT and leftover traces in free drive space.

Entire hard drives and USB sticks

If you plan to sell or recycle your PC, it’s essential to completely wipe its contents to remove every trace of personal data and ensure it can’t be recovered. This is also important if you have sensitive informatio­n stored on removable media such as a USB stick. Privacy Eraser includes a Drive Wiper for this purpose, but it’s restricted to the paid-for version – although you can choose the option, the button to start wiping is greyed out in the free edition.

PrivaZer won’t erase everything on a drive, such as programs, documents and photos, but it will remove all leftover traces of your files and activities once you’ve formatted the drive yourself. Or you can use it to clean elements that compromise your privacy on devices you share with other people.

Click ‘Scan in-depth’ on PrivaZer’s home screen and select the drive you want to wipe – this can be your main hard drive, an external SSD, a USB stick, an SD card, a NAS drive and even an MP3 player. The cleaning options available under ‘Select scans’ will depend on the device, but for a comprehens­ive scrub just choose ‘Select all’. Click ‘Scan’ to analyse the drive for traces, then click ‘See cleanup options’.

Select ‘Secure deletion’ in the dropdown menu (see screenshot below) and specify the number of passes to perform when overwritin­g data. Click the ‘Free space’ tab and choose ‘Normal cleanup’ to ensure every ‘free’ sector of the drive is wiped, then go back to the Scan screen and click Clean. PrivaZer will then securely erase your drive of all privacy traces – this may take a long time depending on the size and contents of the drive. You can click Pause or Stop at any time, and click Modify to lower the priority of the cleaning process so it uses fewer system resources and doesn’t slow your PC.

 ?? ?? PrivaZer shreds sensitive files and folders to make them impossible to recover.
PrivaZer shreds sensitive files and folders to make them impossible to recover.
 ?? ?? PrivaZer can securely erase all privacy traces from a hard drive, SSD or USB stick.
PrivaZer can securely erase all privacy traces from a hard drive, SSD or USB stick.

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