Deleting a file in Windows generally does not actually erase the content of the file, regardless of whether the file you deleted is smaller than 1KB or larger than 1GB, it will be “removed” instantly( the activity of your hard drive light exposed that ), which suggests that only the link is removed, the file itself is not affected.
To wipe your sensitive files, you will need to fill in the contents of them with zero or random bytes, you can perform it manually with a hex editor, or use one of the following programs:
Eraser is a Windows utility designed to remove your sensitive files and folders from your hard drive or USB flash disk perennially.
- 13 file erasure methods available: Gutmann, US DoD( short for “The United States Department of Defense” ) 5220.22-M( 8-306./E, C & E ), RCMP TSSIT OPS-II, Schneier 7 pass, German VSITR, US DoD 5220.22-M( 8-306./E ), British HMG IS5, US Air Force 5020, US Army AR380-19, Russian GOST P50739-95, British HMG IS5( Baseline ), Pseudorandom Data, First/last 16KB Erasure.
- Unlock files before deletion.
- Replace deleted files with dummy ones.
- Highly customizable scheduler.
- Windows explorer integration is supported, you can erase any file or directory with Eraser via the right button context menu.
Eraser works on most mainstream Windows editions, it supports 64-bit MS Windows as well as 32-bit MS Windows.
The execution program and its source code can be downloaded from SourceForge.
Secure rm is a single-file program which serves as alternative to the Windows rm command, it will overwrite the file or folder one pass or several passes before deleting it. The available options include:
- Prompt before any removal.
- Overwrite with single pass using 0×00.
- Overwrite with three passes like OpenBSD rm.
- Overwrite with 3 US DoE compliant passes.
- Overwrite with 7 US DoE compliant passes.
- Delete the contents of folders.
Secure rm works on Windows and Linux, it’s a free download available from SourceForge.
Inferno is a portable and open source program that will help you to wipe specified files/folders, internet history, cookies or Windows history securely. The supported wipe patterns include: Pseudorandom Data, Gutmann Overwrite, U.S. DoD 5220.22-M( 8-306 /E ), U.S. DoD 5220.22-M( 8-306 /E, /C /E ).
Inferno supports most 32-bit MS Windows OSes. It can be download from SourceForge.
This lightweight and portable program allows you to delete any file and fill its content with random data, it supports drag and drop.
SharpWipe works on Windows 7, Windows XP, etc. Download it now from Codeproject.