"Free, simple and powerfull File Shredder."
Windows’ delete operation is nice for freeing up space in your drive, but it’s certainly not trustworthy when trying to erase files for good. Unless you use specialized software to delete data, a big percentage of your erased files can be recovered afterwards. A simple software for this task is File Shredder, which has 5 deletion methods for you to choose from; if you’re a safety-paranoid you can use slower but more secure techniques, otherwise you can use faster ones to get the job done quick.
The installation procedure consists of a few steps with clear instructions and no advanced settings at all. It takes only a small amount of time to finish and doesn’t install any additional software, be it advertised products (e.g. toolbars) or malware.
Supported operating systems are Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003 Server, Vista and 7.
File Shredder has a modern layout that doesn’t use many system resources but is attractive nonetheless. In the center of the screen is a list with the files you want to delete and on left hand side is a pane with 4 sliding menus and their corresponding options: File Shredder, Disks, Options and Help. From the first menu you can add/remove files to/from the list and from the second menu you can wipe free space from the disk. From the options menu you can either bring up the settings menu or check for program updates, whilst the Help menu has helpful links.
After adding files to the list, click on the big “Shred Files Now…” button to begin the deletion process.
Users can choose between 5 wiping methods to perform the operation: Simple One Pass, Simple Two Pass, DoD 5220-22.M, Secure erasing algorithm with 7 passes and Guttman algorithm with 35 passes. Usually and for most cases a simple one pass overwrite is enough to make your files unrecoverable, but since it is arguable whether forensic applications can actually retrieve data deleted with less secure methods you can go ahead and pick a stronger algorithm like DoD or Guttman (they will however take a longer time to complete).
The program, apart from deleting files can also shred free space from the disk. This means that any traces of files you have deleted in the past will be gone (unless their data has already been overwritten by other files, in which case there’s no need to do anything). The deletion algorithms are the same as before.
Instead of opening the program and adding files to the list you can directly delete them from the File Shredder context menu item.
There’s no option to shred the whole hard disk, but according to the author there are plans for adding this function in future versions.
BCWipe (paid) is one of the best utilities for data and free space erasing. It has several features that many programs don’t have and considering its long history in this area it is reliable as well. Other software of this kind are WipeFile (free), CyberShredder (free) and Zer0 (free).
File Shredder is a lightweight program that is easy to use and won’t trouble you with useless settings and features when all you want to do is safely delete data from your PC.
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