How Long Does Erase Free Space Take?

Data encryption is really important especially if we have sensitive files that cannot fall into other people’s hands. We can use one of the most best yet free encryption software called but then if you think carefully about it, there is actually a time frame when the files are not yet protected and are stored as normal files on your hard drive. Even after moving the files to an encrypted container or simply deleting them from your computer, there is a possibility that the files can actually be recovered using a simple to use if they are not being overwritten. There are some dedicated tools to permanently to prevent from being recovered.

However if you’ve removed the files using the standard Windows delete command and emptied the Recycle Bin, Windows does not offer a way to restore it back unless you use a recovery software to restore the file, and then use the file wiping software to permanently delete it. Overtime, the amount of accumulated recoverable files on your computer can be quite shocking.

As far as I recall (not being a Mac user) CC's erase free space on a Mac is performed by issuing an internal Mac command, whereupon CC sits back and waits for the command to complete. So if the command was issued natively it would take near enough just as long as CC does. Oct 9, 2017 - Part 1: How to Erase Free Space on Hard Drives in Mac OS X; Part. Tools take several passes to erase the free space on a hard drive, Stellar.

How Long Does Wipe Free Space Take

A good way around this is to use some free utilities that is able to make the recoverable files unrecoverable without touching your existing files. Eraser If you do a research on data wiping, you may find that there are many different file erasure methods such as Gutmann, DoD, Schneier and etc. Eraser is one of such tool that supports different types of wiping algorithms including Gutmann for the paranoids which is selected by default. To permanently wipe the empty space on your hard drive using Eraser, run the program, right click at the Erase Schedule box and select New Task. Click the Add Data button, select the “Unused disk space” radio button and click OK.

Click OK again at the Task Properties window to close it. A new task is added to the program, to run it simply right click and select “Run Now”. Do take note that the Gutmann method would take a very long time to complete because it writes a series of 35 patterns on the empty space.

If you have a large hard drive with a lot of empty space, the whole process can easily take the whole day to complete. Another drawback is Eraser does not show an estimated remaining time other than the status bar. You can always cancel the task by right click and select Cancel Task from the context menu. Moo0 Anti-Recovery Moo0 Anti-Recovery is a free and very easy to use program that fights the recovery tool by writing the empty spaces once with pseudo-random data. First you need to select the drive that you want to process and then followed by checking a few options such as recycle bin, free space, MFT, cluster tips and even file names. There are no other choices in the wiping techniques other than the built-in method which is good enough to prevent from recovery programs used by end users. BleachBit BleachBit is a famous free utility that is meant to clean out junk files from your computer to free up more space on your hard drive and protecting your privacy at the same time.

There are 2 ways to wipe the free space using BleachBit. First is to click the File menubar, select “Wipe Free Space” and choose a folder or drive that you want to wipe. Second method is to check the “Free disk space” from the System category and click the Clean icon. There is no option to cancel the process but you can terminate it by closing the program. It also shows an estimation of time remaining to complete wiping. BleachBit wipes the space using a single pass of blank data which they think is sufficient and the additional passes adds no value other than slowing down the whole process. BleachBit can be ran on Windows and Linux.

CCleaner CCleaner, probably the most famous Windows optimization and cleaning utility around today offers a tool called Drive Wiper to securely erase the free space on your hard drive. Run CCleaner, go to Tools Drive Wiper, select “Free Space Only” for wipe, then the overwrite method and finally the drive that you want to wipe. CCleaner has 4 wiping techniques which is 1 pass, 3 passes (DoD), 7 passes (NSA) and 35 passes (Gutmann). The more passes that you select, the lower in chances of recovery and longer it will take to wipe.

SlimCleaner SlimCleaner is a well known and fast growing computer maintenance software that comes with a lot of features to keep your computer clean and optimized. To access the disk wiping tool, run SlimCleaner, click on Disk Tools and select Disk Wiper. Similar to CCleaner, it also 4 wiping methods which is 1, 3, 7 and 35 passes.

Make sure that “free space only; your data will be safe” option is selected and followed by clicking the drive to process and finally click the Wipe button. File Shredder File Shredder, as its name suggests, it is a free tool meant for shredding single and multiple files including free disk space with Windows shell right click integration.

To wipe the free disk space, run File Shredder and click on “Shred Free Disk Space” at the left pane. A new window will open where you can select the disk to wipe and the secure algorithm to use. Click the Next button and then Start.

Restore iPod's data: Install iDump, plug-in your music device, set it to operate in manual mode, open the application and it will guide you simply throughout the process. -Pick playlists and see the song within the desired list only. After downloading iDump free and following the instructions, you'll be asked to connect your iPod to the computer. Although iDump free has an advanced version, iDumpPro, we cannot see any selling point or killer features even it was priced at $9.9 since the released date on 2008. Ipod manual mode for idump for mac. Jun 13, 2008  Best Answer: im not sure what manual mode is but there is a hardware mode you can put it in First, turn on your ipod. Then at the main menu screen hold down menu and center. This will reset your ipod. Once it is reset press center. This will make the apple logo apear. Once you see it hold rewind and center. IDump would allow you to transfer your video/music from your iPod or else iTouch. IDump has been round since the first age group of iPods and was one of the first programs to offer entree to your iPod and it has continually been freeware for the elementary version. This video tutorial will show you how to restore and rebuild your music library from what's on you iPod using free software, iDump. Find all your lost iPod music with this tutorial and iDump.

File Shredder supports 5 types of algorithm which is 1, 2, DoD, 7 and Gutmann 35 passes. The simple two pass option that is not available on most other tools would be a fine choice if you want a good balance between time and speed. Disk Redactor Disk Redactor is another simple utility that wipes away deleted files. There is an option button where you can enable erase information twice, run a check disk, working in background and writes with random data instead of just filling it with zeros but it’s not available for free users. To start the secure delete, click on the Wipe Disk button and select the drive or folder.

During testing we found that selecting any folders on the drive will wipe the drive’s empty space rather than the folder. Although not mentioned anywhere, we strongly believe that Disk Redactor uses 1 pass because the licensed version can enable 2 passes option.

Logically this means that the free version should be using a less secure algorithm compared to the paid version. Cipher.exe The built-in cipher.exe tool in Windows operating system located at C: Windows System32 is actually a file encryption utility that can be used to remove data from available unused disk space. Simply type the command below and followed by the path to the directory or even the root of the drive letter. Cipher.exe /W:C: path to folder Cipher.exe uses 3 passes algorithm where it overwrites the specified unused free space with all zeros, all ones and finally random numbers. The advantage in using the cipher.exe tool is the availability on Windows operating system since 2000 plus you can run from it an un-elevated normal command prompt. Important Note: There is no need to continually wiping the free disk space on your computer because it will only increase the wear and tear of the drive and reduce its lifespan especially on SSD drives.

What you can do is, wipe the unused free disk space once using any of the software listed above depending on your requirements on the algorithm, then start managing sensitive data in an encrypted container created by or any other reliable encryption software. No mention of Darin’s Boot & Nuke, better known as DBAN? I’m sure that this project has been around before this article was written, simply image the desired drive, run either a DOD (3 pass or NSA (7 pass) wipe to the drive while at work or sleep (Guttman is offered, yet even he himself stated was overkill & no more effective than a 7 pass), or both if the drive is large enough. All that’ll be left is garbled data randomly spewed across the drive during the last pass, reinstall the backup image & you’re good to go.

Just make sure to clean the Temp folders really good before back & restore. If running a SSD, it’s much faster, inside of 5 minutes on a 2TB model, use the Parted Magic (2013 edition) from Major Geeks, boot from the ISO & be sure to select ‘Internal’ drive (applies to eSATA attached SSD’s also), and avoid the Enhanced Secure Erase, which zaps so many bytes at both ends, decline & choose the Full one & takes no time. I always perform 2x for good measure, then as above, restore my backup image & good to go.

A refreshed SSD will run nearly as good as new again! I used the default Windows Cipher command on a 300GB external 2.5″ drive connected via USB 3.0, and gave it to the local Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crime unit, which was able to partially/mostly recover a very large number of graphic files that had been on the drive. They were NOT able to recover any of the more than 100gb of music files in a usable form. To be clear, they DID start with a list of the filenames that had been wiped. The Deputy commented on my collection of photos of SeaCraft boats, calling it “Boat Porn”. The Program they were using is called R-Studio, and is supposedly effective on modern drives of under 1TB capacity, on a variable scale.

The greater the drive density, the more difficult to recover securely deleted data. I plugged the drive back into my laptop at home, and copied all the previously deleted files back to the portable drive, and then ran CCCleaner with the 7-pass option. LEO were still able to get file fragments, including a few discernible images. The last time I ran Eraser with the Gutmann option. It took 27 hours to run the Gutmann processs on this external 2.5″ drive connected via USB 3.0 to a Lenovo Ideapad w/ 2nd gen. I7 Windows 8.2 laptop with 16gb of RAM.

Afterwards, LEO was unable to retrieve any usable data within 48 hours using their normal automated process. @Frank – At first I didn’t really believe your claim that the files were recoverable. I mean if the data is overwritten, then it shouldn’t be recoverable.


I was directed to this site because I discovered that an external drive I use for a lot of projects had all the previously deleted data easily recoverable. Since I didn’t want to install anything else on my machine I used the built-in Cipher command also.

Well, after 3 passes, every file that was recoverable before was just as recoverable after. It’s as if the tool did nothing. Based on your comments I’m going to try Eraser next.

Thanks for the heads up about Cipher. I Agree with you. Gutman etc advanced cleaners has any sense only on low capacity rotated disks.

With high capacity disks and ssd’s this is non sense, because there are no practical way for reading not overwritten data from track borders on rotated, and flash cells are completly overwritten without any possibility with reading any previous data. Of course ssd’s should be trimmed, and firmware will automatically wipe out all freed blocks. Then only one pass is really needed.

Hard earsing is needed only, when we have any problem with any “security agency’:). Another option is or was Drive Scrubber by Iolo you have to buy their software for it to work But they just took the wipe free space option out making it useless. I used them for 3 years with no problem until they took the wipe free option out.Now all they have is the options to completely erase data,and why pay for that when the data can be erased for free.There wipe free option had 2 ways of cleaning,you could either sweep the drive or do it by overwriting the space and would not leave your drive with overwritten files. Hal9000: The density of modern hard drives makes it impossible to recover data from any overwriting. A single pass of 0x00 is fine to prevent recovery of the overwritten data. A couple of years ago there was a company who said they could recover data from an overwritten hard drive.

They got offers from several data recovery companies who each pitched in lots of money for the company to prove its claim. They took a 500 GB drive with a known set of files, wiped it with a single pass of 0’s and gave them as long as they needed to recover a single file from this drive. Several years later they still haven’t recovered a single byte of data (they actually gave up a while back and admitted they weren’t talking about hard drives). If you are going to recover any sectors from a wiped hard drive it will have to be the translated sectors from the G-list that had data on them before they were marked as bad. That’s the only way. Modern hard drives for the purpose of this discussion would be considered drives that use PMR technology (perpendicular magnetic recording). Most hard drive manufacturers switched from the previous technology (longitudinal recording) to perpendicular recording between 2006-2009.

So it is manufacturer and model specific. There is a study (Overwriting Hard Drive Data: The Great Wiping Controversy if you want a link to more information.

I have a plain jane Win 7 computer. I hate to be negative but Eraser does not work completely. I can still find and recover long deleted files. ActiveKillDisk reports damaged volumes that are not damaged. Moo0 Anti-Recovery does almost nothing, majority of deleted files are still recoverable.

The problem with most of the wiping programs is that they do not completely overwrite all the actual empty space and the file name storage. ShredIt provides a bogus Trial software that actually does nothing, you have buy it to really try it and if it doesn’t work there is a restocking fee if you return it. I need a program that will completely and definitively wipe/erase all deleted files and free space. Nice article.

How Long Does Erase Free Space Take

I partcularly appreciate the comments like those in the last paragraph for Eraser. Where known, a little more detail on what is included would be useful (e.g., Moo0 Anti-Recovery itself is particularly clear on what is included). Two other tools to consider: PrivaZer – a suite similar to CCleaner; can zero freespace with other options for master file table (MFT), etc. SDelete – one of the many Sysinternals utilities; overwrites a file, directory, or freespace; for free space it zeros (-z) or cleans (-c) (overwrites thrice — 0, 1, random); for free space, the MFT is included but filenames may remain(!); clear, brief explanation of what it does and why but description of options could be a little clearer.

Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site. Or read our to learn how to use this site. The MFT is the Master File Table which contains the identifying information used by the file system to manage file storage. When files are deleted, details like the location of the file's prior contents (and sometimes a small component of the file's actual contents) remain for an indeterminate period of time in the MFT.

Much like the file data locations themselves, the MFT entries are released and become available for re-use, but until they get used again for other files, the information they contain can be accessed to gain information about the deleted files. This is the first line of approach used by file recovery programs, so in some situations it could be viewed as a security risk, enabling private or sensitive information to possibly be recovered after file deletion. So wiping the MFT free space will erase any remaining information in the previously used MFT records that are awaiting re-use. If you wish to be extra secure about deleted files being completely gone, then you can choose the MFT free space wipe. But keep in mind it will make recovery of an accidentally deleted file far more difficult after applying the action.

How Long Does Erase Free Space Taker

Edited by Platypus, 26 November 2014 - 03:04 AM. OK to understand the CCleaner clear free space option it is important to understand how your computer deletes files. The computer NEVER deletes files, instead it sets the file's deleted bit to TRUE. Now the file is still on disk, but the free space could be overwritten. Until that happens any undelete tool can recover the file in a second. While files are in the recycle bin, the same happens only your file cannot be overwritten, and you can 'magically' return the file.

This is much faster than overwriting the file with zero's. In the computer registry you can set the MFT size, I have set mine to the biggest since it is a development PC. I have lots of small file, so many small (source and library files) in fact on a 500GB drive even with the biggest MFT, my MFT can be full before the drive. Is full when that happens it becomes hard to work with or DE-fragment the drive.Impossible even it just takes long and nothing defragments. By clearing the deleted files from the MFT using CCleaner, I get free MFT space it might be enough to be able to work with my drive again.

So it is important to know this. If you have so many small files as I do, you will first notice defragment does not work, then it is time to clear the MFT an usually I'm good for a few weeks at least. Of course I would not have this problem if I had made partitions, but I need that much space on my C drive, for all my development tools/IDE's.

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