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Chapter 10. THE LEAST YOU SHOULD DO TO G... > Getting Rid of Files and Data

Getting Rid of Files and Data

As important as it is to ensure privacy of information while it's in use, it is equally important to ensure that when you are finally getting rid of information, the information truly disappears. Keep in mind that typical functions, such as deleting a file or a directory still make that file or directory recoverable from the Recycle Bin. Even if you empty the Recycle Bin, the information is still there, recorded byte by byte on your PC's hard drive. It is no longer available as a file, but chances are good that someone determined to get it can recover it.

To prevent this kind of recovery, you need to truly get rid of the information. For everyday use, you should use a tool that overwrites information in files (as they are being deleted), in file slackspace (which is usually created as a result of how file space is allocated on disk), and in swap files. Eraser from http://www.tolvanen.com works well with Windows 2000 and NT, and it's free. It works equally as well with Windows 98 and 95, except that in those systems it cannot erase the content of the system swap file automatically; you must do that as a separate step. After Erase is done deleting data, chances are good that no one is able to retrieve the information except perhaps a well-funded government laboratory using special equipment and examining disk platters under an electron microscope.


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