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Eraser - Secure File Removal

Eraser - Secure File Removal

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Published by Hossam el-Hamalawy

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Published by: Hossam el-Hamalawy on Aug 02, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Eraser - secure file removal
is used to permanently delete sensitive data. It can also clean a digital storage device of all recoverabledata.
Computer Requirements
 All Windows Versions
Version used in this guide
Free and Open-SourceSoftware
Installing Eraser 
Follow any program-specific directions in the Guide If there are none, simply click the link below and choose a location to save the installer Find the installer on your computer and double-click it 
Required Reading
How-to Booklet chapter 6. How to destroy sensitive information
: 1: Beginner,
2: Average
, 3: Intermediate, 4: Experienced, 5: Advanced
Time required to start using this tool
: 20 minutes
What you will get in return
:The ability to permanently delete unwanted files from your computer The ability to delete all recoverable files that are currently invisible on your computer 
1.1 Things you should know about this tool before you startEraser 
is used to permanently delete or 'wipe' sensitive data from your computer. It does this by writing over thedata you want to delete. You can select files or folders to be wiped in this way. Eraser will also delete copies of files that may exist in your computer without your knowledge. This includes files you have previously deletedusing the standard
deletion method, and copies of documents you have worked on in the past.Deleting files with Eraser can be done on demand or scheduled to run at a specified times.1.If you schedule Eraser to run at a certain time, then your computer must be switched on at the specifiedtime or the wipe will not happen.2.Once you have deleted a file using Eraser, it cannot be recovered using a file recovery program.3.For greater security, you should set Eraser to overwrite files selected for deletion between 3 and 7 times.4.Eraser can be used to wipe the free space off your computer. This refers to permanently wiping all pasttraces of work that may not have been properly deleted and could, in theory, have been recovered.5.
How to Configure Eraser 
 As described in the How-to Booklet chapter 6. Destroying Sensitive Information,
wipes data from your hard disk by overwriting it with random information. The more times you overwrite the data, the less likely that itwill be recovered.
: It is recommended that you overwrite the data at least three times.
: Each overwrite or 'pass' takes time and therefore, the more passes you make, the longer the erasingprocess will take. This will be especially noticeable when erasing large files, or wiping free space.
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The number of passes can be set by accessing the
Preferences: Erasing 
Step 1
Select: Edit > Preferences > Erasing
as follows:
Figure 1: The Eraser [On-demand] screen displaying the Edit menu options The Preferences: Erasing screen 
appears as follows:
Figure 2: The Eraser Preferences: Erasing screen 
Preferences: Erasing 
screen describes how the files are to be overwritten.
: This column lists the name of the overwrite procedure.
: This column lists how many times the data will be overwritten.In this example, we will overwrite our data using the
Pseudorandom Data 
method. By default, only one pass ismade when using this option. However, for extra security we will increase the number of passes.
Step 2
# 4 Pseudorandom Data 
option as shown in
Figure 2 
Step 3
button to activate the
screen as follows
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Figure 3: The Eraser Passes screen 
Step 4
the number of passes to between three and seven (remember the time/security trade-off).
Step 5
button to return to the
screen.# 4 Pseudorandom Data should now resemble the following:
Figure 4: The Eraser Erase screen with pane showing item 4 selected 
: Make sure the check boxes labelled
Cluster Tip Area 
 Alternate Data Streams 
are checked as follows(they are checked by default):
Figure 5: The Eraser Cluster Tip Area and Alternate Data Streams check boxes in default mode Cluster Tip Area 
: A computer hard disk is divided into small segments called 'clusters'. Usually, a file spansseveral clusters, and often a file will not completely fill the last cluster. The unused space on this lastcluster is called the cluster tip area. This cluster tip area may contain sensitive information from the other file that was written over this cluster before and occupied more of the cluster. Information from a cluster tip may be readable by a data recovery specialist. So,
Cluster Tip Area 
check box for greater security.
 Alternate Data Streams 
: When a file is stored on your computer, it may come in different parts. For example, this text contains both text and images. These would be stored on your computer in differentlocations or 'streams'. So,
 Alternate Data Streams 
check box to ensure that all data associatedwith the file is deleted.
Step 6
button.You have now set the overwrite method for Eraser to wipe files. You should also set the same options for the
Unused Disk Space 
feature that appears on the next tab in the
Preferences: Erasing 
screen. However, you mayset the number of passes to a
figure -- taking into consideration that a free-space wipe will takearound two hours per pass.
Using Eraser 
3.1 How to use Eraser with Windows Explorer 
It is common for people to use
through the
My Computer 
Windows Explorer 
programs, rather than
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