Bootable Free Space Wiper App?

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ArthBlat
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:35 am

Bootable Free Space Wiper App?

#1 Post by ArthBlat » Wed May 22, 2019 8:07 pm

There are numerous apps that will attempt to wipe or erase all the deleted files
floating in the unused space on your drive partitions. After wiping this free
space a few times, data recovery apps can be used to test if there are any intact
files. It's not uncommon to find hundreds (or thousands) of mostly intact files.

The problem is you can't terminate all system processes while your eraser app
is running. That's why these file wiping apps can never be 100% effective.

Has anyone created a free space wiper that will run before Windows starts? I can't
find anything, but an app that will run from a bootable CD or USB flash drive seems
like a logical solution to the problem.

Just to be clear, I know there are bootable apps like DBAN that will wipe clean an
entire hard drive. I want a bootable app that will overwrite deleted files dumped
into the free space on hard drive partitions.

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webfork
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Location: US, Texas
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Re: Bootable Free Space Wiper App?

#2 Post by webfork » Thu May 23, 2019 6:28 am

Unfortunately it gets worse. Most people have SSD drives now, who's overall life is reduced through intensive wiping processes that often don't actually work. Due to an "over-provisioning" feature with SSD devices, it's exceedingly difficult to get the 100% you're looking for. This problem and a partial solution is discussed here and should be easily accomplished via an Linux LiveCD / LiveUSB. Note that the process described should work fine if you have a non-SSD device.

The 5x wipe process should be more than enough. As I try to emphasize everytime this comes up, at no point should anyone use the lengthy, pointless, and wasteful "Gutmann" 27x wipe method. Some of my old links explaining this have died but even the creator backed off it's use.

Anyone looking to skip over this problem entirely should look at whole disk encryption tools such as VeraCrypt.

---

More info: Securely erasing flash media (portablefreeware.com)

thepiney
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:57 am

Re: Bootable Free Space Wiper App?

#3 Post by thepiney » Thu May 23, 2019 9:24 am

You could also boot to a Windows based boot media such as winbuilder/PE/XPE - https://www.tenforums.com/software-apps ... media.html and use the included or portable app/program from that.

Use caution when using DBaN and similar utilities as you could easily wipe all drives in the system if you select the wrong options. I usually suggest disconnecting drives that you don't want touched by these programs (Before you boot).

--> Posted on the UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) forum some time ago --->
ady wrote:
Fri May 10, 2013 8:11 am
pica wrote:DBAN - (Darik's Boot and Nuke) This will overwrite every drive connected to your system
FWIW, DBAN has many options, including the selection of which disk(s) to wipe (and using the simple one pass quick zero-out option is more than enough for common users). Having said that, it would not be the first time that a user doesn't really know what he is doing and wipes out the wrong disk (specially by wrongly using the "automatic" mode in DBAN).

ArthBlat
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:35 am

Re: Bootable Free Space Wiper App?

#4 Post by ArthBlat » Thu May 23, 2019 1:05 pm

I appreciate your replies, webfork and the piney.

My introduction to computers was a project published in Radio Electronics magazine.
That was many years before the first Desktop or PC.

Despite several decades of computer experience, I will continue to make mistakes.
That's why I have three dozen full system backups. The Desktop in my home office
was built by me. I frequently try new software or hack the Registry in a virtual
environment. If something goes wrong it doesn't matter. Dumping a virtual operating
system and trying again is no problem.

OK. I did make a mistake that forced me to restore the system from an image backup.
I booted the "Mini XP" found on Hiren's Boot CD. After loading "Mini XP" I used CCleaner
Portable which has a wipe "free space only" option. The wiping process ran fast and smooth.
I didn't notice any problems.

The first attempt to bootup my "real" operating system was not good. I got an "error
loading operating system" message. Obviously, critical system files had been damaged.
I immediately used an image backup and restored the system.

Every few months my business partner uses DBAN to wipe clean his internal and external
hard drives. Like me, he has many backups. It's simple to restore everything from a backup
after the drives are wiped.

An alternative is to use a free space wiper app after booting into Safe Mode with minimal
system processes running.

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