Many of us now own, and use a paper file shredder to destroy documents, and personal and financial papers that we don’t want to fall into the hands of identity thieves, or anyone else not entitled to have access.
So now, consider those files on your computer that you’ve deleted, sent to the recycle bin, and then flushed as you emptied the recycle bin. When you go through this process the deleted files are gone forever, right?
Well if you’re a typical computer user, you quite likely do believe that they’re gone forever, since the deleted files can’t be seen in Windows Explorer. In fact, you can’t find these files anywhere on your Hard Drive.
It may surprise you to learn that not only can I find those files but I can recover them as well. Oh, it’s not because I’m a super- duper tech wizard – although I will say, with some modesty, that I am. LOL.
Here’s the lowdown: when a file is deleted from your Hard Drive, what really gets deleted is the system link pointing towards the file, but not the file itself. Surprisingly, it is relatively easy to retrieve the deleted file using specialized file recovery software (often available as a free download), which takes advantage of shortcomings in the Windows operating systems.
Let me give you an example. Recently, I agreed to rebuild 30+ computers (at no cost), being donated to a local charity for distribution to less fortunate families.
While working on these machines I noticed immediately that although the Hard Drives had undergone deletion, they had not been wiped. Since these machine had been donated by a government agency; that struck me as being negligent in the extreme.
In order to bring this situation to the attention of those who had committed this serious breach in security, I recovered a number of these files. Not unexpectedly, the recovered files did in fact did contain confidential information. In this case – confidential information on families on public assistance. As part of the process, I saved the recovered files to a floppy disk and presented the disk to the appropriate authorities. Shock, surprise, embarrassment, were just some of the reactions.
It’s easy to see from this example, that deleted files (or a good portion of a file) can easily be recovered.
In order to delete or shred files permanently, to protect your privacy and potentially your security, or for any other reason for that matter, you need a program such as File Shredder 2 that is capable of overwriting the file with a random series of binary data multiple times.
This process is often called shredding. That way, the actual content of the file has been overwritten and the possibilities of recovering such a shredded file becomes mainly theoretical.
File Shredder 2 (rated by CNET’s editors as a 5 Star utility), is a simple but powerful program, with a straightforward interface, that many users judge to be better than some commercial file shredders. With File Shredder 2 you can remove files from your hard drive permanently, and feel confident that the file can’t be recovered.
Running the program allows you to choose between 5 different shredding algorithms, each one gradually stronger than the previous one. As well, it has an integrated Disk Wiper which uses a shredding algorithm to wipe unused disk space. I use this feature frequently, to clean up my drives (after running test applications), and to destroy any leftover fragments of previously deleted/uninstalled files.
If you’re looking for a great free file shredder application that does what it says it does, in an easy to understand manner, I highly recommend File Shredder 2.
Operating System: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista
Download at: Download.com