Tag Archives: delete

Open Source BleachBit 0.9.3 – Deletes HTML5 Cookies

imageI considered just giving up – but, I’ll be damned if I will. I take every precaution I can to guard against the invasive parasitic practices of data collectors who are persistent in their attempts to collect “anonymous” data on my personal browsing habits. But, it’s never enough.

Despite my precautions – despite the tools I use in an attempt to respond to the insidious nature of web tracking – I find myself fighting a constant rear guard action. No sooner do I reach a plateau from which I can exert a functional level of control over the “behind closed doors nature” of Internet tracking – than I’m forced to deal with an even more insidious method of personal data collection.

Let’s spin back for a moment, to the time when the so called LSO (Flash Cookie) was introduced as a response to users gaining control over standard HTTP cookies. Control which allowed for the acceptance, the rejection, and the wiping of private data – including wiping cookies.

The Flash Cookie changed all that. By design, a Flash Cookie (Super Cookie)remains active on a system even after the user has cleared cookies and privacy settings. BetterPrivacy – a free Firefox add-on, stepped into the battle to address this issue, and gave users an opportunity to identify, and delete, Super Cookies.

When a Tracking Cookie is not obvious to a casual Internet user and, when that cookie cannot be deleted without the aid of a specialty cleaner, then Internet tracking has been taken to a level that borders on deception. Hell, let’s call it what it really is – crooked, immoral, fraudulent, illegal, ……..

When I first wrote on Super Cookies in September 2009, I made the following comment –

“……….with little resistance being offered by the “sheeple”,  and a failure by regulatory authorities to enact appropriate consumer protection laws, we can expect privacy intrusions , like this, to accelerate.”

It’s hardly surprising then, that we are now faced with the Evercookie (HTML5 Cookies)

From Wikipedia:

An Evercookie is not merely difficult to delete. It actively “resists” deletion by copying itself in different forms on the user’s machine and resurrecting itself if it notices that some of the copies are missing or expired. Specifically, when creating a new cookie, Evercookie uses the following storage mechanisms when available:

  • Standard HTTP cookies
  • Local Shared Objects (Flash cookies)
  • Silverlight Isolated Storage
  • Storing cookies in RGB values of auto-generated, force-cached PNGs using HTML5 Canvas tag to read pixels (cookies) back out
  • Storing cookies in Web history
  • Storing cookies in HTTP ETags
  • Storing cookies in Web cache
  • window.name caching
  • Internet Explorer userData storage
  • HTML5 Session Storage
  • HTML5 Local Storage
  • HTML5 Global Storage
  • HTML5 Database Storage via SQLite

Hold on – there’s more:

The developer is looking to add the following features:

  • Caching in HTTP Authentication
  • Using Java to produce a unique key based on NIC information.

We’re not quite finished.

With this tool it is possible to have persistent identification of a specific computer, and since it is specific to an account on that computer, it links the data to an individual. It is conceivable this tool could be used to track a user and the different cookies associated with that user’s identifying data without the user’s consent. The tool has a great deal of potential to undermine browsing privacy.

I don’t know what your definition of hacking, or illegal access encompasses – but, in my view, the placement of an Evercookie steps over the line into the realm of cybercrime. I suggest to you, that if a government were to penetrate a user system to plant an Evercookie as a matter of course – the outrage would be immediate. But, private enterprise does it – and the “sheeple” happily bow to what they consider the inevitable.

The tracking industry (a multi-Billion dollar industry), has gone too far on this one. I predict the litigation lawyers, and privacy advocates, will run out the big guns in a justifiable attempt to eradicate this spyware.

Personally, I believe that criminal charges should be laid against the executives of those organizations currently using Evercookie. I see no difference between these yahoos, and Russian cybercriminals.

Additional statistics on which web sites are currently using Evercookies can be had by reading an eye opening article by one of my favorite Tech writers Ed Bott – here.

In the meantime, you might consider installing BleachBit – an open source application which will delete Evercookies from your system.

In the following screen capture I have focused on a Firefox cleanup – including wiping HTML5 cookies.

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In this screen capture the focus is on deleting Flash cookies ((Super Cookies).

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Lets take a look at a preview of what’s going to be deleted –

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Choosing the same parameters using CCleaner (a Flash and Firefox cleanup), leads to a considerable difference.

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Fast facts:

BleachBit quickly frees disk space and tirelessly guards your privacy.

Free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there.

Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean 90 applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari,and more.

Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster.

Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

System requirements: Window, Linux.

Languages: This application is available in 56 languages.

Download at: SourceForge

BleachBit is a powerful application; I recommend that you spend some time becoming familiar with its operation and capacity, before using for the first time.

You should consider viewing a tutorial video available here.

30 Comments

Filed under downloads, Evercookies, Flash Cookies, Freeware, Open Source, Privacy, Software

Locked Files? The Solution – Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension

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The error message says – “error deleting file or folder, cannot delete folder it is being used by another person or program”.

You say – “expletive deleted”.

We’ve all had that problem attempting to delete a file that simply refused to be deleted. The reality is, these types of messages are not as uncommon as you might expect, and can be caused by any number of issues, including (let’s hope not), a malware infection.

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Fortunately, there’s Unlocker – a free Windows Explorer extension (now in version 1.9) which gives you the means to handle those “expletive deleted” locked file messages – with a simple right-click on a file, or folder.

As you can see in the following screen capture, after installation – you’ll have a new command in Windows Explorer’s “right click” context menu. Click on the graphic to expand.

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In the following screen shot, you’ll see that I’ve selected the Recycle Bin, and you’ll also see that this folder has a small “lock” icon beside it. The lock icon is Unlocker’s way of letting you know that this folder is locked.

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Right clicking on the file (Recycle Bin) brings up a “locked” list which, as you can see in this screen capture, incorporates a series of operators you can employ on the files/s.

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Fast facts: Unlocker will handle the following.

Cannot delete file: Access is denied
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.
The file is in use by another program or user.
Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

System Requirements: Windows 2000,  XP,  2003, Vista, Win 7 (64 bit available).

Languages: Multiple language support.

Download at: developer’s site (emptyloop.com/unlocker/)

As with all application installations, pay particular attention to the additional features which may have automatically being selected.

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Note: Caution is the keyword here. Working with critical system files may cause system errors, or failure. If you are not familiar with these issues, seek help from an advanced user.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension – Take Control Of Locked Files In Windows

imageIf you’ve ever attempted to delete a file that simply refused to be deleted, then you know how frustrating that can be. The following screen shot illustrates just one of the commonplace warning messages a Windows user can run into when attempting to delete a File, or Folder.

This type of message can pop up more often than you might expect, and can be caused by any number of issues including (let’s hope not), a malware infection.

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Unlocker, (last updated April 13, 2011), is a free Windows Explorer extension that allows you – with a simple right-click of the mouse, to handle this particular error message – as well as the following:

  • Cannot delete folder: It is being used by another person or program
  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied
  • There has been a sharing violation.
  • The source or destination file may be in use.
  • The file is in use by another program or user.
  • Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

After a simple straightforward installation, you will notice a new command image, has been added to your Windows Explorer context menu –  as illustrated more clearly in the following Windows Explorer screen shot (Windows 8 version).

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System Requirements: Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Win 7 (64 bit compatible).

Languages: Multiple languages

Download at: FileHippo

Note: Caution is the keyword here. Working with critical system files may cause system errors, or failure. If you are not familiar with these issues, seek help from an advanced user.

Note: During the Install you will have the option to install two Toolbars.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, System Utilities, Uninstall Tools

Delete Data Permanently With Free Free File Shredder 2

This article is a companion piece to – Staples Resells Storage Devices Without Wiping Customers’ Personal Information – published earlier today.

File Shredder 3Many 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 – my way of giving back), 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 file 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 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, 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.

File Shredder 4

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.

System requirements: Windows 2000,  XP, Vista, Win 7.

Download at: Download.com

If you’re looking for a more robust portable application – checkout Disk Wipe.

Disk Wipe is a free, portable Windows application for permanent volume data destruction. With Disk Wipe you can erase all disk data and prevent recovery of that data.

Disk Wipe uses powerful algorithms which fill the volume with useless rubbish binary data, multiple times. The possibility of recovering information from drives formatted with Disk Wipe, is virtually non existent.

System requirements: Windows 2000,  XP, Vista, Win 7.

Download at: the developer’s site (Disk Wipe)

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Filed under Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Tools, Portable Applications, Privacy, Secure File Deletion, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

Delete Problem Applications With Free Revo Uninstaller

imageRecently, I’ve had more than a few reader questions on broken application installs, with the common thread being – a reinstall of the non-functioning application is a non-starter. The application still refuses to launch.

Here’s the problem – maybe. In some cases, uninstalling or manually deleting a misbehaving application, will not adequately remove various and sundry registry entries, coupled with hidden files, making it all but impossible to reinstall the application – due to conflicts with these same old registry entries and hidden files.

Luckily, there is a probably solution – Revo Uninstaller, which is a powerful alternative to the Windows Add or Remove Programs applet. This free application with its advanced and fast algorithm, scans before and after you uninstall an application.

After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you have the option of removing additional unnecessary files, folders, and registry keys that are usually left over on the Hard Drive.

Even if you have a broken installation, Revo Uninstaller scans for the application’s data on your hard disk drives and in the Windows registry, and shows all found files, folders and registry items so that they can be deleted.

As well, Revo Uninstaller’s unique “Hunter mode”, offers you some simple, easy to use, but effective and powerful approaches to manage applications (uninstall, stop, delete, disable from auto starting), and to search out information about installed and/or running applications.

Icon View

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In details view, additional application information is available. Opening the right click context menu (in any view), accesses control functions. In the following graphic, I’ve opened the Registry Editor for illustrative purposes.

Details view

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Revo Uninstaller conveniently includes additional handy tools to help you clean your system, and keep it running at top speed – as shown in the following two screen shots.

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Fast facts:

Uninstaller – free, simple, easy to use, and effective Uninstaller

Auto Start Manager – stop programs that start automatically when Windows starts.

Windows Tools Manager – handy and useful tools bundled with every version of Windows.

Junk Files Cleaner – find and remove unnecessary files from your computer.

Browsers History Cleaner – erase the web site history, visited pages history and temporary Internet files of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape and Opera web browsers.

Office History Cleaner – remove the history of most recently used files in MS Office.

Windows history cleaner – remove the history of recently opened files, delete temporary files, remove usage tracks and other history items that are saved by Windows.

Unrecoverable Delete Tool – erase files and folders forever.

Evidence remover – make sure already deleted files, folders and other data are unrecoverable.

This is a great little tool which gets a real workout around here removing test applications. I’ve also added it to my “emergency tool kit”, on a USB drive. If you are tech inclined, and even if you’re not, I recommend that you do too.

Highly recommended -10/10

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7.

Download at: The Revo Group

A portable version is also available: To install the portable version, simply download the application from the developer’s site, extract the ZIP file to a folder, and then copy that folder to your flash drive and voila, you’re good to go!

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Portable Applications, Software, Uninstall Tools, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

Free StartUp Tuner 2 – Fixes Slow Computer Boot Time

image Is Windows boot time starting to get you down? Do you sometimes feel as if you could go and make a coffee while waiting for Windows to start? Let me tell you, if you feel that way, you’re not alone – it can happen to all of us.

You’ll often find, after installing a new application, that it automatically triggers an auto-start command on system start up.

That means, each time your computer is booted, this type of presumptive program is started with Windows, which is unlikely to be your intent, and in many cases is not needed. For example, iTunes is one of those programs that has this nasty habit.

As a result of this program behavior, your start sequence can become considerably longer, system resources can be ravaged, and manually shutting down these unnecessary startups can be frustrating, and time consuming.

The following is a perfect example of how out of control these presumptive  auto-start applications can become.

Recently, a friend asked me for advice on his sister’s computer that was slow at startup, and even worse, was slow in normal operation. It was easy to see why. The computer was loading 26 applications on startup, which then continued to run in the background, eating up system resources.

There are a number of manual methods available to deactivate these very irritating applications from auto starting, but a great free application from Ashampoo does the job quickly, cleanly, and with no fuss.

StartUp Tuner 2 lists all auto-start entries and allows you to individually delete or deactivate those entries. If you turn off all of the unnecessary entries (be sure they are not necessary), Windows will boot faster; in many cases considerably faster.

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Bonus features:

StartUp Tuner 2 can do more than just this though. The tool can list all Windows services by name and it allows you to activate, or deactivate them, with the click of the mouse.

The application shows all installed Windows programs, but it builds its lists more quickly than the control panel software module. You can then uninstall programs that are no longer required, including program entries that the native Windows uninstaller generally leaves untouched.

Many Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are useful, but others simply take up space on the Hard Drive and serve no useful purpose. StartUp Tuner 2 lists all of them, and allows you to delete, or deactivate them, if you determine you longer need them.

The application automatically generates a backup of the changes that you have made, giving you the opportunity to reverse any changes.

StartUp Tuner 2 can be used free for 10 days. After that time, free online registration is required. You will receive an activation code which will convert the test version of the program into the full version.

Ashampoo loves to remind you of the value of their full software lineup, so if you find it bothersome to receive this type of email, you’d be better off passing on StartUp Tuner 2.

Personally, I like to stay in the loop on new software developments, so I don’t object to receiving emails soliciting my business for new applications. One of the benefits of registering with Ashampoo is – they often give away full versions of their apps, just prior to the release of a new version.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista. Win 7 (no x64 support).

Download at: Developer’s site

Note: Full administrative rights are required to install the program. After it has been installed it can be used with any user account.

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Slow Computer, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Save $29: Partition Assistant Professional Edition 4 Day License Giveaway

Windows Partition Manager: Partition Assistant Pro Edition

There are a number of sound reasons to partition today’s large Hard Drives. The best reason I can think of (from a personal perspective), is simply this – data organization.

Additional good reasons to partition could include, keeping your valuable data separate from the operating system so that if you are faced with an OS reinstall following an infection, you can do so without losing irreplaceable data. As well, a multiple boot configuration (resident on one of my machines), which allow users to have more than one operating systems on a computer, requires multiple partitions.

While we’re talking about an OS reinstall following a malware infection, let me just remind you that partitioning is NOT a substitute for backing up your important data. Hard Drives can, and do, fail – a good backup strategy is an absolute must.

Software developer Aomei Technology, recently invited me to be part of their four day giveaway (January 25 to 29, 2011), for a free licensed version of their premier partition manager – Partition Assistant Professional Edition.

Partition Assistant Professional Edition, with its simple user interface allows you to easily create, delete, format, move, resize partitions, and much more. The “much more” characterization (see fast facts), takes this application out of the range of typical free partition management applications.

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Click graphic to expand.

Publisher’s description:

This professional edition is an advanced partition manager software to assist you to optimize your disk performance; most widely used by personal users which allows you to be an partition solution expert with professional unique technology.

Fast facts:

Extend NTFS partition without restarting computer.

Resize and Move partition to optimize disk space management.

Extend Partition Wizard help you step by step expand the size of your selected partition.

Clone/Copy Disk, Clone/Copy Partition.

Merge two or more partitions into a larger one.

Split one partition into two or more.

Create, Delete and Format partition.

Convert file system from FAT to NTFS.

Wipe permanently sensitive data to anti-recovery.

Wipe hard drive, Wipe Partition.

Repartition by drag & drop mouse on a disk panel.

Support resizing NTFS and FAT32 file system.

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 (Both 32 bit and 64 bit).

Publisher’s siteAomei Technology

Giveaway download link. This is the only link from which the license giveaway is available.

If you’re in the market for a partition manager that includes professional capabilities, then Partition Assistant Professional Edition is worth a close look. As well, FREE has a nice ring to it.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, Free Full Versions, Giveaways, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Tools, Software, Software Giveaways, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP