Prevent Restore is a software for Windows that can wipe the entire free space of a hard drive to erase files that might be recoverable otherwise. It has many similarities to another file eraser that goes by the name of Eraser.
Why would someone walk the extra mile and erase files that already have been deleted in Windows?
The answer to that question is simple: Windows does not really delete the file, it only deletes the reference to the file which tells the system where files are located on the hard drive.
It's like loosing the address of a friend's house. You could not point your finger on it on a map but it still exists and calling the friend would reveal its location again. Or, forgetting where you parked your car. The car is still there, and a thorough scan of the neighborhood would reveal its location.
Files can be recovered if they have not been erased properly. The age of a file plays a role in determining the chances of success. A rule of thumb is that new files have a higher chance to be recovered than files that have been deleted a while ago. The reason for this is simple: the space that deleted files occupy is marked for write operations when they are deleted; any new write to the drive may overwrite part or even all of the file.
Prevent Restore was designed to delete files so that they cannot be recovered anymore. It begins with the selection of the partition that you want to erase files from, and how you want the data to be erased. This is pretty simply in the free version, as only one algorithm is provided to overwrite data. The Pro version supports eight different algorithms among other things. It uses several security algorithms to overwrite the deleted data on the hard drive ensuring that the data cannot be recovered with recovery software.
The program starts the overwrite process as soon as you have made the selection. It overwrites the free space of the drive during that process.
So how does it compare to Eraser? The user interface of Prevent Restore does not offer many options to choose from. This is less confusing but advanced computer users might miss features that Eraser offers. Eraser on the other hand comes with options that Prevent Restore does not offer. This includes the selection of the data algorithm to erase files or a scheduler that performs the operation regularly.
Eraser can also erase existing files and folders securely and it does support all Microsoft Windows operating systems from Windows 95 on while Prevent Restore is only compatible to Windows XP and Windows Vista, and newer versions of Windows.
Advanced users will most likely stick with Eraser while beginners might tend to work with Prevent Restore to erase files on their system.
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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.