Disk Mgmt - Shred/wipe free space issues

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by Palancar, Nov 5, 2011.

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  1. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

    I have been reading this forum for some time but recently joined. I am hoping you guys can give me a steer here.

    I am looking at "tracks" left behind after wiping/shredding free space on my drives, and specifically USB drives. Whether or not I use CCleaner's wipe features or "PGP shred free space" I still see the file names of the deleted and wiped data. The data itself is unrecoverable as per Recuva and other recovery tools.

    Unfortunately, sometimes file/document names still being seen could be an issue for security.

    So the question is this: what method/program would you recommend to wipe/shred free space that would anonymize the deleted file names? I don't care what the program calls them - tmp, zero out, or whatever as long as the original file names are permanently unavailable.

    Obviously, wiping the entire drive does what I am describing but I don't want to have to do that when all I need is a wipe/shred of free space. Most of the drive space contains virtual volumes so I am ONLY concerned about the free space outside of the encrypted volumes.

    I would like a program that will "play nice" with the EXFAT filesystem. Not a requirement, but its on my XMAS list if you know what I mean.

    From reading on these forums it seems that some of you might be able to help me with my concerns. It may be a day or so until I get back since I am going out of town. Hope to be back tomorrow but it might be Monday.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. AaLF

    AaLF Registered Member

    Here's a download link to Cyberscrub. You can trial it to see if it cleans up 4 you. But be warned. If you like it, its $59 per year subscription.

    Webroot window washer is another.
  3. AaLF

    AaLF Registered Member


    let us know what you discover about free-space secure cleaners. That is disturbing what you said about 'leftovers'.

    I think its something we all need to be aware of. So let us know when you find a 'winner'.

  4. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

    Heidi Eraser or Moo0 Anti-Recovery.
  5. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

    File names can sometimes be a problem. I've always had the best luck with BCwipe and Eraser.
  6. S.B.

    S.B. Registered Member

    I've been using a different approach for free space wiping. More reliable, particularly for file names, and sometimes faster. Will throw it out for comments.

    1. Encrypt the drive or partition with Truecrypt (no loss in speed on modern system).
    2. Make sure entire drive/partition is written in encrypted state at least once (full format during encryption will suffice).
    3. Delete files with or without wiping; won't make any difference.
    4. When its time to wipe free space, just do "File" backup of all files on drive/partition, to different (preferably encrypted) drive/partition using Acronis True Image Home -- It is very very fast if you select no file compression.
    5. Now re-encrypt drive to be wiped with a throw-away password, and select Quick Format. Takes no more than couple of minutes.
    6. Re-encrypt drive being wiped with original password and use Quick Format. Steps 5 and 6 make everything on drive/partition completely unrecoverable.
    7. Restore the File backup to the original, and now re-encrypted drive. This creates a new MFT containing only existing file names. All other file names, and all free space on drive/partition has been wiped by steps 5 and 6.


    1. File backup and restore steps seem to be carried out somewhat faster on MB/sec basis than wiping. Time consuming file slack wiping time is eliminated.
    2. If drive/partition is only 1/3 or less full, this is actually faster. Is possibly slower as drive gets close to and past 1/2 full, depending whether file slack would have been wiped and how long that would take.
    3. Speed of this approach is best when backup is from one drive (or partition on one drive) to another drive (or partition on another drive).
    4. Another nice benefit -- the drive/partition is fully defragmented when finished.

    That's it. Actually easier than I made it sound.

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  7. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

    Lockbox --- I use Eraser for NTFS and FAT but it does NOT support EXFAT at all. I am trying to get a good handle on the EXFAT filesystem because it doesn't journal and time stamp filesystem hidden logs. NTFS's logs are not what I want for what I am storing. FAT32 is OK but the small 4G file size restriction in this day and age is obsolete by any measure.

    Mr Brian --- I will look at those proggy's you recommended.

    S B --- I use TC all the time and fully understand your method. Where my needs differ a bit are: I keep file based volumes which take up 90 percent or more of the drive. I rarely mess with the space outside of the virtual volumes but on occasion I need to. I just want to regularly keep the small outside space on the drives "squeaky clean" and for that I need a program to wipe/shred free space. I use these drives in traveler mode so device based volumes would require two drives to be portable on a box without TC installed.

    I am also looking at experimenting with the use of ext2 (non journaling alternative)and the windows driver for it. That would likely work great for use on my boxes but would tear the hell out of portability.
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