Securely Deleting Files Without Ruining Your Drive

Talking about the pros and cons of disk wiping and file shredding files on SSDs, Flash-Based Memory and Hard Disks.

Episode #9-16 released on December 2, 2018

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I've been seeing a lot of people with the same issue lately. They've got some files on their computer, for whatever reason, they want to permanently make disappear. There are two ways of doing this and one way is better than the other.

The complete removal of a file from a computer is more complicated than just hitting delete. When you delete a file from your computer, you are in effect only removing the pointer to the file on the drive. The actual file itself is still located in the same location or locations on the drive itself.

In order to remove a file from a drive you have to use a file shredder which replaces the contents of the current file with randomized bits, or just ones or zeroes. But this brings up an unusual problem that many don't think about, what happens if the file is smaller than the original, or so fragmented that previous parts of the file are no longer associated with the current file.

Which brings us to fragmentation and file size. If the file in question has been modified to be smaller than the original, or edited repeatedly, it is still possible to find previous portions of the file even if you are using a file shredder. Which means, that anyone looking to get access to the file, may still retrieve parts of the file containing presumably damning evidence of whatever you are trying to hide.

The problem gets even worse with SSDs or any kind of flash-based memory. At least with a spinning drive, you can zero the entire drive easily using a program like DBAN, but with SSDs you will need to use a manufacture's tool to have access to a secure erase function. The reason is because writing over and over to the entirety of an SSD like to an HDD is going to wear down the SSD, where this would not be an issue for hard drives.

Basically, the solution to deleting files on a spinning drive requires the entire drive be wiped, regardless of the time, but considering that it will prematurely age an SSD, should be done with the upmost of knowledge of the consequences of doing so, your SSD will won't last as long as if you left it work naturally. The choice is basically up to you.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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