SDelete securely deletes files conforming to DOD 5220.22-M sanitizing standard


Mark Russinovich at www.sysinternals.com has released freeware utility SDelete which securely deletes files so they can not be
recovered. Useful if you have files you want to be sure they are deleted
forever.


The only way to ensure that deleted files, as well
as files that you encrypt with EFS, are safe from recovery is to use a secure
delete application. Secure delete applications overwrite a deleted file’s
on-disk data using techiques that are shown to make disk data unrecoverable,
even using recovery technology that can read patterns in magnetic media that
reveal weakly deleted files. SDelete (Secure Delete) is
such an application. You can use SDelete both to
securely delete existing files, as well as to securely erase any file data that
exists in the unallocated portions of a disk (including files that you have
already deleted or encrypted). SDelete implements the
Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DOD 5220.22-M, to give
you confidence that once deleted with SDelete, your
file data is gone forever. SDelete is presented with full source code so that
you can verify yourself that it works as advertized. Note that SDelete securely
deletes file data, but not file names located in free disk space. SDelete works on Windows 95, 98, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows
2000.
It should work on XP. I suspect they haven’t updated
the page recently.

Another freeware alternative is Sami Tolvanen’s Eraser :


Eraser is an advanced security tool (for Windows),
which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by
overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. The patterns used
for overwriting are based on Peter Gutmann’s paper “Secure Deletion of Data from
Magnetic and Solid-State Memory” and they are selected to effectively remove
magnetic remnants from the hard drive. Other methods include the one defined in
the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual of the US Department
of Defense and overwriting with pseudorandom data. You can also define your own
overwriting methods. Eraser works on Windows 95,
Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Author
notes there have been 500,000+ downloads. Guess we all have something worth
hiding.

Taking a partition approach : NecroFile. NecroFile takes the partitions you select from a
list and it overwrites the clusters with mock data. This will push all deleted
programs off of the hard disk and into oblivion where it belongs. It does *not*
damage any data that exists on the drive, and this is guaranteed. The speeds
vary, and the user selects the one best suited to his or her computer processor.
It can usually complete quickly, and the help file details all necessary
information regarding the specifics. In the new release, the ability to destroy
files individually (or entire directories) is introduced. This makes the
selected files unable to be recovered under any circumstances. When deleting
sensitive information, it is highly suggested to use this mode.

X-Ways
Security: Permanent Erasure
offers up to 9 fully configurable overwrite
passes and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) standard for hard drive
sanitization as specified in the 5220.22-M operating manual.

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