Summary: In this blog, we’re discussing the best five tools that will help you permanently erase files and prevent data recovery. You can review these tools based upon their features, ease-of-accessibility, data erasure results, etc., and choose the best one as per your needs.
In today’s digitally empowered world, safeguarding privacy and confidential data from unauthorized access is a bit difficult especially when the user lacks knowledge about the importance of data sanitization before discarding, selling, or donating devices with memory (storage).
To protect data, generally, users encrypt files & folders, hard drives, password protect flash drives and encrypt SD card on their smartphone to avoid unauthorized access to their confidential data. Use of antivirus & anti-malware tools is another way of safeguarding the privacy. But almost all of these devices (hard drives, SD cards, smartphones, laptops, etc.) are discarded, sold, or donated without proper data sanitization at the end of their life cycle.
Deleted data can be easily recovered from any storage media whether it’s a USB thumb drive, HDD, SSD, SD card, etc. Interestingly, data from a formatted, encrypted, and broken or crushed storage media can also be recovered using a data recovery software and services. Therefore, to protect and safeguard your confidential data from an unauthorized access, you must erase the files/folders and wipe the empty spaces (unused space) on your hard drive volume as the empty spaces might contain previously deleted sensitive and private data that can be easily recovered.
Tools to Destroy Data Permanently – Beyond Recovery
There are several tools out there in the market that you may choose but most of them aren’t capable of data sanitization and are also complex to use such as SDelete, WinHex, etc. Therefore, to save you from the trial and error, we worked on choosing the 5 best tools available in the market to permanently erase files and folders beyond the scope of recovery.
Eraser is a security tool for Windows that erases data from storage drives by shredding and overwriting it several times with selected patterns. The tool is helpful in maintaining the privacy and also allows users to remove selected files instead of wiping the whole drive.
The tool also provides an option to schedule eraser of specific files on the system based on date and time. The software uses the following algorithms to erase data from a storage media:
- Write Zero
- Random Data
- DoD 5220.22-M
- HMG IS5
- GOST R 50739-95
- Doesn’t have a user-friendly interface
- Doesn’t verify destroyed data
|BitRaser File Eraser|
BitRaser for File is one of the most powerful data erasure tool available online. The tool is developed by Stellar Data Recovery—a renowned organization known for its data recovery, data migration, and data erasure solutions. Therefore, the BitRaser File Eraser is much more reliable and secure than the above-listed data eraser tools.
Moreover, the BitRaser File Eraser uses 3 international data erasure algorithms including U.S. Department of Defense (DoD 5220-2 M) that ensures data is completely sanitized. Using the tool, you can safeguard your privacy by
- Cleaning your internet activities
- System Traces
- Application Traces
- Wiping the empty or unused spaces on the hard drive using one or more algorithms out of 17 (one at a time)
|Hard Disk Scrubber|
This is a free disk and file scrubbing tool that is designed to destroy sensitive data from a Windows PC. The tool overwrites free space on the Windows drives and deletes the file permanently beyond recovery.
The tool offers 5 scrub types that are a combination of 6 scrub patterns arranged into passes:
- Normal: Uses a Random pattern with a single pass
- Heavy: Uses Zeroes, Ones, and Random patterns with three passes
- Super: Uses 5 patterns with 5 passes
- Ultra: Uses DoD prescribed overwrite with verification
- Custom: User can define their own pattern with as many passes as required
- Does not wipe/erase folders and sub-directories
- Not safe as it can also wipe Windows system and program files
- Not safe to use as it can permanently destroy system files too
Hard Wipe erases the entire hard drive or portable storage media and ensures that the sensitive information can’t be recovered by anyone. This tool also comes with a portable edition that runs from a USB drive and lets you wipe entire disk without installation. Portable version offers more functionality; thus, it requires a professional upgrade.
The interface is simple and easy to understand and the tool can wipe:
- Physical devices
- Logical volumes
- Files and folders (including sub-folders)
- Windows Recycle Bins
- Free Drive Space
- Doesn’t verify if data is destroyed
- Portable version requires upgrade
- Not safe and secure to use as it can also erase system files
Moo-Anti recovery is a free disk cleaning utility that is capable of erasing recoverable data from your hard disk. The utility does not erase files currently on the drive but wipes the empty spaces – that may contain previously deleted data – on your system or external hard drive, thereby ensuring deleted data is gone beyond recovery. It has a simple and basic user interface with many language options.
Moreover, it’s a very lightweight program that helps users tackle the privacy issue. The tool provides the following options to choose what data needs to be deleted from the system,
- Recycle Bin items
- Free space on disk
- Free space on MFT
- Cluster tips (the empty area at the end of every file)
- Filename traces
- No surety of data sanitization
- Can’t erase files and folders stored on the drive
- Data eraser is not verified
We have discussed the top 5 tools that can help permanently delete files from the system and safeguard sensitive & confidential data from unauthorized access. These tools use different techniques and patterns to permanently erase data from the system.