Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spring Cleaning on that Hard Drive

Ok if you are a Geek you have likely seen NBCs new series CHUCK.

Hot spy action.

Hot guest stars.

Girls in bar maid outfits with pigtails.

It even has Jane from FireFly. Its a bit awkward at first seeing him in this role but he gets much better as the show progresses.

Hot sister.

Car chases, Buy More - Best Buy spoof, The nerd herd and all those embarrassingly awkward moments.

As much as I'm into equality this is one show that you hope the person operating the camera is a man. Either way: THANK YOU for a job well done.

What's not to like?

So what's the point? Ok you are not that international man of mystery whos data is sought out by foreign governments and if it were to get into the wrong hands could change the balance of power on the planet. But if your data got into the wrong hands it could change the balance on your bank account. When you use your PC you are saving and deleting data. Your PC as a part of normal operation is also saving and deleting data in the swap file, internet cache, and random .tmp files.

Hackers can look at both the free space and the slack space on your hard drive and read data.

Slack space or file slack is the area between the end of a file and the end of the last cluster or sector used by that file. Also if you sell a PC, reformatting isn't enough. I bought a PC recently from Craigslist with XP loaded and found some fun stuff. These weren't deleted files, they were simply left behind. (Let's just say the guys girlfriend was quite nice looking). Unfortunately, I had to do a wipe of the drive to protect his privacy before selling the PC. He was Russian, just maybe?

Ok now that we have established that you don't have to be a Spook or on the FBI's most wanted list, or should I say RIAA, to need to clean house: This is how its done.


Selling that machine?

Before you run any of the following 2 hard drive erasers remember to disconnect the data cable from any drives you don't want to accidentally erase.

Darik's Boot and Nuke
Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot floppy that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.
DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spy ware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

Editors comment: "Floppy" - what's that - I haven't seen one of those since when?
He has a CD / DVD version as well.


Secure Erase, a free download:

I also saw a note with a caution on drives 2001 and older:
He recommends destroying the old drive.

For periodic and everyday use:


CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! :)

BCWipe software

The BCWipe utility is a shell extender for Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, intended to secure delete your files.

It supports correspondent U.S. Department of Defense recommendations (DoD 5200.28-STD).

The BCWipe utility provides several ways to shred file's contents from the disk:

a. Delete with wiping. Using 'Delete with wiping' command you can delete and wipe your files and folders using pop-up context menus in Windows Shell (Explorer program).

b. Wipe free disk space. If you have previously deleted sensitive files using a standard operating system command, you may wipe free space on the disk where these files were stored - all previously deleted files' contents will be erased.

c. Swap file wiping. BCWipe utility automatically wipes Windows Swap file contents when you run 'Wipe free disk space' command.

d. Recycle Bin wiping. You can wipe contents of Windows Recycle Bin by pointing on the Bin icon by mouse and running the 'Wipe Recycle Bin' command from context pop-up men

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