The objective of this thread is to identify the set of features and functions that define a “best-in-class” erase utility. If such an inventory can be developed, then it may be used as a checklist for individuals seeking to compare one erase utility against another. To start the discussion, the following erase utility characteristics are worthwhile to consider, in my opinion. Erase Methods Contains a selection of industry standard erase method algorithms (e.g., Department of Defense 5220.22) Allows the user to create customized erase methods (e.g., by modifying the number of overwrite passes) Erase Capabilities Erases “file slack” (also known as “cluster tips”) during the process of erasing a file Erases “file slack” (also known as “cluster tips”) of existing files without deleting or damaging those files Employs a cryptographically secure random number generator (e.g., the ISAAC algorithm) Destroys the name of a file in the Master File Table after erasing the file’s contents (on an NTFS volume) Erases the free (unused) space on a hard disk drive Erases the names of previously deleted files (on NTFS and FAT volumes) Automatically schedules files that are “locked” by Windows to be erased at system startup Erase Options Provides pre-defined options to erase Internet traces (e.g., cookies, history, temporary files) Allows the user to specify which Internet cookies are to be retained (i.e., skipped during an erase) Provides pre-defined options to erase traces generated by Windows (e.g., the Recycle Bin, paging file, recently used files list, find/search history, etc.) Provides pre-defined options to erase traces generated by commonly used applications (e.g., Microsoft Office), whether those traces are manifested in files or registry keys Allows the user to create a customized option (“plugin” or “sensitive area”) for erasing information, by selecting folders, files, and/or registry keys to be erased Miscellaneous Ease of installation Ease of use (e.g., quality of user interface) Generates a log file, to allow erase operations to be reviewed Provides command-line parameters, to allow the erase utility to be used in a batch file or VBScript program (or invoked through the Windows Task Scheduler) Integrates with Windows Explorer (i.e., right-click context menu) Supports “drag & drop” of files into the application interface for erasing Includes an integrated disk hex editor, to allow the user to view a file’s contents before and after an erase operation Includes an integrated task scheduler/manager, to allow erase options to run automatically at selected intervals Allows a user to erases a hard disk partition/drive completely, using a boot diskette/CD Allows the user to define “hotkeys” to invoke and run an erase function Allows the user to password protect access to the configuration settings of the erase utility Allows the user to “preview” the selection of folders/files about to be erased Documentation and Support Clarity and completeness of help available from within the erase utility Clarity and completeness of the user manual Company provides email support in a timely and accurate manner Company provides “live chat” support Company provides telephone support Company provides a community forum, to allow users of the erase utility to talk to one another Supported Configurations Compatible with Windows XP Compatible with Windows Vista Compatible with a selection of Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox) Compatible with a selection of email clients (e.g., Outlook) Pricing Competitive cost Upgrade/update policy for obtaining new releases of the erase utility Please recommend additions/edits to this list, so that all in the forum community may benefit.