We all know that it is important to securely delete all files on a hard drive before giving it to someone else, for instance by selling it on eBay or giving your computer to a family member or friend, or even trashing it. This holds especially true if you plan on selling the hard drive on Internet sites such as eBay. I know that some users buy used hard drives on eBay purely for the thrill of trying to recover data that was deleted on those drive. This could get you in a world of trouble if you think of the private information that you save on your computer.
I was thinking of something different though. What if I want to keep my hard drives for now but make sure that deleted data can't be recovered by any means? I tried and ran some file recovery programs such as Recuva and it showed thousands of files that were still referenced on my system although they have been deleted before. I think that this is a privacy problem and decided to look for a way to delete all file information on the unused part of all of my hard drives connected to the PC.
I decided to use Recuva first and see how many file information it would find. After that I would run a program named Eraser which I will use to clean the unused disk space of any deleted file information and finally run Recuva again to see if this reduced the amount of files that it would be able to restore from the drives.
Testing my Hard Drive with Recuva:
Recuva found 33720 files on my hard drive f: that it could partially or fully recover. This is a large amount of files and while not all of the files found can be recovered fully, it highlights a big privacy issue.
After right-clicking the central pane I was able to create a new task. The first option was unused space on drive which is the default option in the menu. I selected the f: hard drive from the list. Eraser was displaying my newly selected task in the central pane and I had to right-click that task once again and select Run from the context menu. It took two and a half hours to overwrite all the data on my 100 gigabyte hard drive.
Testing the result with Recuva:
Recuva found one file on drive f: Everything else was not found anymore which leads to the conclusion that this is an excellent way to erase file information that exist on the unused space on your hard drive. This is probably not enough to erase it for the big boys if you know what I mean but every amateur should not be able to restore any of the files that you have deleted this way.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.