Wipe disk free space: how-to and why

Wiping operation for free disk space, which might contain sensitive data.

Learn more in file security and privacy blog.

 

Wipe free disk space with file shredders

Learn more about free hard disk space wipe as a security measure

Despite popular belief, simply deleting files or formatting a hard drive does not get rid of the files that are on there. Files are recoverable by anyone who possesses the knowledge needed.

This is the reason why, even though a computer says there there is x amount of free space available, it's a good idea to do a free disk space wipe.

Whenever a file is deleted on a computer hard drive, instead of being gone, it is now just available space. which means the file remains until it is written over by another file. There are plenty of products available for disk wiping, and to be safe the drive should be wiped three times, not just once.

The amount of time it takes to wipe depends on the size of the hard drive. If you are only wiping a small amount of space, such as with a free disk space wipe, it's a good idea to make a temporary partition for the space. This way only that part of your hard drive is wiped out, and not the whole thing.

 

More wipe free disk space tips:


PC Optimizer PRO

Combination of useful tools

All-in-One system cleaner, which includes registry cleaner, tracks eraser, file shredder. There are also some add-ons, which make the software especially useful - startup manager and built-in backup system. There is also an option to scan PC online. Buy for 29,95 online.

 

Blancco File Shredder

by large security software supplier

Blancco file shredder

While Blancco Lite and Pro are primary for large businesses (company has over 1.5M licensed end-user in various industries), we recommend to try Blancco - File Shredder (buy Blancco File Shredder for $32.45). This tool is a file shredder, which supports shreddering of single files, folders, recycle bin, temporary files and wiping of free disk space.

 

ShredAgent file shredder

with background mode wiping

Shred Agent file shredder

The Shred Agent is so-called "background mode" file shredder. This approach to wiping is more secure and easier to implement in business of any size. With Shred Agent you also can wipe free disk space for selected drives or schedule the wiping on a regular basis.

The professional version of Shred Agent costs $60, but home users for non-commercial application can purchase the tool for $45.

 

WinShredder File Shredder

with system and browser cleaner

WinShredder - file shredder by PCSecurityShield

PCSecurityShield is a well known internet security solutions provider, which focuses on personal privacy and security tools, including antiviruses and online shields.

This is a very nice feature-rich utility that can be purchased for $29.99 in company online store.

 

Max File Shredder

uses 7-pass DOD wiping method

Max File Shredder software

Max File Shredder uses a 7-pass DOD wiping algorithm for both file wiping and wiping free disk space. Also, the program has a "Privacy Guard" options that helps to get rid of unnecessary records in Internet Explorer browser.

The program is available in Max Secure Software online store for $29.95.

 
Learn more about file shredder and disk wipers in our file security blog.

TaskManager

Protects auto-startup list

Proctect start up list with TaskManager
TaskManager and TaskManager PRO were designed to help users manage with auto-startup list of Window, as the auto-load list is the way various piracy software get loaded each time you start PC. TaskManager provides user with flexible way to find possible security issue and block it.

The software is available as  Standard and PRO version.

Wipe hard disk tips

If you are planning to dispose your personal computer or if you are moving out of the office and you have important personal files on the PC, you practically would need to delete all those files so you can be sure that no one would ever be able to secure access to such files. That is how wipe hard disk security could be of great help to you. It is not enough that you delete your files from the computer's File Allocation Table, which is the system of filing utilized in Windows. You have to make sure there would be no other way your files would be retrieved and accessed by just about anyone, even the computer network personnel of your office.

Secure deleted files on your laptop

Do you want to ensure security of your personal computer or laptop? Erasing and moving important files can seem easy but in truth, you can never be so sure if the task has been completed accurately. Some computer experts assert that deleting the files in your Windows does not ensure that the files are nowhere to be seen. That is what wipe hard disk products are there for. In these modern times when data and information stored in computers are very much pertinent, it is imperative to observe some wipe hard disk security tips.

Wipe disk with free and commercial tools

Some disk wipe utilities take it one step further, and also delete any metadata. This refers to the information about the data itself that is also stored on the disk. By overwriting the entire disk, these utilities ensure that no trace of the data that used to be on the hard disk remains. Many of these utilities are available, and so users have the freedom to choose the disk wipe program that would fit their needs. There are both free and commercial options available; the tradeoff is between cost and technical support (as well as more well-developed features and interfaces, in general). But most disk wipe utilities nowadays are simple to use, even for casual computer users. This makes securing data to be deleted easier and more effective than ever.

Wipe disk - overwrite free space with random data

Now, what this means is that even after one has deleted a file, tech-savvy users would still be able to snoop out the information contained in the file. There exist utilities which would be able to recover this lost data, thereby possibly compromising their confidentiality. Performing a disk wipe, on the other hand, would yield greater security against the recovery of the data to be erased. When a disk wipe is performed, the entire disk is overwritten by random data. Hence, the file data does not remain on the disk, but is instead replaced by random values of its constituent bits. This makes recovering the data from the disk practically impossible.

Simple file wiping does not work!

Simply deleting a file (or a collection of files) using the operating system’s “delete” command may seem permanent and irreversible already, but in truth it is not. This is often referred to as file deletion. When file deletion occurs, the data on the disk itself corresponding to the file is actually not overwritten. In fact, this file data remains untouched on the disk. The only change that occurs is that this space, which used to be marked as “used” or “full”, is, upon file deletion, marked as “available for use” again. The file also remains in its directory, but is not shown anymore due to being marked as “deleted”.

Why wiping free disk space is a challenge now

Computers are now everywhere. We call modern times the Information Age, and for good reason. Computers have facilitated the organization and accessibility of information to such a point as to revolutionize almost every field of human endeavor. Computers have found applications in diverse fields, from research in the sciences, to administrative tasks within organizations, even to personal publishing or entertainment. Computers can not only perform even the most complex or tedious computational tasks, but have also branched out to become one of the most versatile tools of our time. With the plethora of programs and software now available, almost any business or organization would find a use for a computer. This increasing reliance on computers means that computer security has also grown to become a valid concern. As computers are used for more and more tasks, eventually they have become related with critical and confidential matters. Certain data that are processed using computers sometimes need to be kept secret, or at least away from prying eyes.

How fast wipe free space function should be?

It depends on the size of your hard disk, on the amount of free space on your hard disk and … how good you file shredder is. Actually, it is not necessary to wipe the whole hard disk, it is enough to wipe just locations that are free and that was containing some sensitive information. So the time estimation for a good file shredder is about 1 minute for an average 1 Gb of free disk space.

How to schedule wipe free space function to run every week?

It’s quite simple as Windows has its own scheduler and most file shredders have a command line interface, so that you can pass some parameters (hard drive letters) and file shredder will wipe the free disk space and make your computer secure. It’s a good idea to run wipe free wipe every week. Where to find Windows Scheduler? Go to Control Panel and you will find there “Assign Task” option (it may differ on Windows version).

Defragmentation or wiping free disk space?

What about defragmentation – does it work as wipe free space? The answer it NO. You can check it yourself, do a defragmentation and try to recover some file – I’m sure you will find some data left untouched.

Wipe free space - do it regularly

Wiping free disk space – how often should I do it? Depends on how often do you deal with sensitive files. If you are a “home user” then it will be enough to schedule wipe free space during weekly maintenance.


The most popular file shredders

Blancco File Shredder

by large security software supplier

Blancco file shredder

Visit Blancco company homepage.

While Blancco Lite and Pro are primary for large businesses (company has over 1.5M licensed end-user in various industries), we recommend to try Blancco - File Shredder (buy Blancco File Shredder for $32.45). This tool is a file shredder, which supports shreddering of single files, folders, recycle bin, temporary files and wiping of free disk space.

 

If you face computer sale security problem, then you might be interested in using Blancco - Lite (buy Blancco Lite for $25.95) for total wiping of PC hard disk before sale and Blancco - Pro (buy Blancco Pro for $110.50), designed for unlimited number of wiping.

Shred Agent file shredder

with background mode wiping

Shred Agent file shredder

Visit Shred Agent homepage.

Shred Agent is a file shredder designed by AKS-Labs, also known for its security solutions, Recent Cleaner and Find Protected.

The Shred Agent is so-called "background mode" file shredder. This approach to wiping is more secure and easier to implement in business of any size. With Shred Agent you also can wipe free disk space for selected drives or schedule the wiping on a regular basis.

The professional version of Shred Agent costs $60, but home users for non-commercial application can purchase the tool for $45.

WinShredder File Shredder

with system and browser cleaner

WinShredder - file shredder by PCSecurityShield

Buy WinShredder file shredder for $29.99.

PCSecurityShield is a well known internet security solutions provider, which focuses on personal privacy and security tools, including antiviruses and online shields.

WinShredder is a file shredder designed by PC. It allows to overwrite data unlimited number of times (that's good, but today it is enough just 1 pass).

More over, this shredder allows to wipe chat transcripts, temporary internet files and clipboard data.

This is a very nice feature-rich utility that can be purchased for $29.99 in company online store.

Max File Shredder

uses 7-pass DOD wiping method

Max File Shredder software

Buy Max File Shredder for $29.95

Max File Shredder is another popular file security software created by Max Secure Software. The company has offices in Silicon Valley and main development center in India.

Max File Shredder uses a 7-pass DOD wiping algorithm for both file wiping and wiping free disk space. Also, the program has a "Privacy Guard" options that helps to get rid of unnecessary records in Internet Explorer browser. More over, you are able to scheduler the wiping to make an automation wiping of free disk space. We recommend to do this once a week.

The program is available in Max Secure Software online store for $29.95.

File security and Personal Privacy Vocabulary

learn meaning of some security related words to choose wise

For more information about file shredders check our blog.

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