Contrary to popular belief, deleted files do not disappear after you empty the Recycle Bin. Standard “delete” functions only free up data storage space. You can still use third-party apps to recover deleted files until new bits of data take their place.
To achieve permanent deletion, you need digital file shredding programs. They use several sanitizing techniques to clean data bytes and eliminate traces of old files. In this article, we will discuss the most reliable, secure options.
Eraser is a widely trusted digital file shredding tool. The platform has 10 data sanitization techniques, including GOST R 50739-95, DoD 5220.22-M, Random Data and the standard Gutmann algorithm. Users claim that the various disinfection systems make it the safest scrubber available today.
Also, Eraser undergoes frequent updates. The developers release modified versions two to three times a year. You can be sure that the program works on the latest Windows versions, stops new data recovery attacks and supports modern file types. It also introduces new features every year or two.
Just note that Eraser’s advanced sanitizing methods take some time to execute. You probably can’t run RAM-intensive programs like video editing tools, programming systems, or simulation games while scrubbing. Consider planning your deletions in advance.
Download: Eraser for Windows (Free)
Most digital file shredders work well on Windows devices. You can use them to permanently delete various files without special attributes, from voice recordings to downloaded images.
Although convenient, third-party programs have several limitations. Most scrubbers cannot overwrite restricted data with special attributes using technologies unique to Microsoft. For a more advanced scrubber specifically made for Windows devices, try Sysinternals: SDelete. The Microsoft Sysinternals team developed this command line.
You can use Sysinternals: SDelete to permanently delete any file on Windows. It uses the defragmentation API, a sanitization method that locates and overwrites data with special attributes (ie encrypted, compressed, sparse files). The platform overwrites files 26 times. Even skilled hackers would need billions of years to recover these files through brute force tactics.
Download: SDelete for Windows (Free)
3. Safe film disposal
Not everyone needs complex scrubbers. Having nearly a dozen data sanitization techniques at your disposal won’t yield useful results if you can’t maximize them. Some users prefer convenience over sophisticated features.
One of the most simple, navigable options on the market is Securely File Shredder. It has a simple platform that only comes with three disinfection techniques: Schneier, DoD 5220.22-M and Gutmann. Executing them only requires a few clicks.
Apart from being simple, Securely File Shredder is also very fast. It scrubs files faster than its counterparts since data cleansing methods require fewer file overwrites. You can probably scrub a 500GB drive in under an hour.
Download: Securely File Shredder for Windows (Free)
Users with experience running digital film shredders know that it takes quite a while to install them. You can probably set up a 4 MB utility in 15 to 30 minutes. To speed up your scrubbing, consider using lightweight, portable digital file shredders like WipeFile. The program is only 135 KB. Since installation only takes a few seconds, you can carry it around on a flash drive and run it on any Windows device you use.
Despite the platform’s small size, it still offers excellent security. You can choose from 14 data sanitization methods, including Gutmann, Write Zero, DoD 5220.22-M, MS Cipher, and Bit Toggle. They can overwrite data 20+ times.
Download: WipeFile for Windows (Free)
Most digital film shredders eat too much RAM. Even modern PCs and laptops with decent processing power will lag a bit, especially when deleting files in bulk. You can only shred during scheduled periods. If your job requires you to delete digital files non-stop, consider Moo0 File Shredder. It is a lightweight program with three streamlined data sanitization techniques, all of which use minimal RAM.
The least demanding method uses the cluster tip area and pseudo-random deletion of data to change the deleted file’s name, timestamp, size, and attributes twice. You can shred for hours without lag. Meanwhile, Moo0 File Shredder’s more intensive method uses the Gutmann algorithm to change the deleted file’s name, size, attributes and timestamp 20+ times. Not even advanced recovery tools can recover these scrubbed items.
Download: Moo0 File Shredder for Windows (Free)
Although CleanMyMax X is not an official Apple program, it is one of the most well-known data eraser apps for macOS devices. It has a 4.6 star review collected from 6700+ ratings. You can use it for free, but you have to pay $89.95 to unlock all the features. The app also offers subscription-based pricing starting at $39.95 per year.
Look out for discounts. You can save up to $100 if you buy your license while MacPaw is having a sale.
Users praise CleanMyMax X for its effectiveness. The program runs a unique data sanitization technique that works correctly on the latest macOS versions. Very few scrubbers can keep up with Apple’s OS updates.
Another reason why Apple users like CleanMyMac X is that they find it convenient to use. It is a multi-functional platform that provides insight into the CPU loan, RAM capacity, unused system garbage, junk data, redundant files and general system health. The developers even claim that routinely running CleanMyMac X optimizes your macOS device.
Download: CleanMyMax X for Mac (Free, Premium and Subscription Available)
Shreddit is an efficient digital file shredder for Android devices. You can use it to wipe data on internal and external storage at the same time, including SD cards and On The Go adapters. Just don’t run intensive programs while scrubbing to avoid risking a crash.
Although you have several options for permanently deleting files on Android devices, none are as easy as Shreddit. You can perform deletions with just a few clicks. Shreddit’s developers also continuously release bug fixes and app updates, further streamlining the scrubbing process.
In terms of security, Shreddit offers seven sanitization methods, including US DoD 5220.22-M, German VSITR, Random Filler, One Filler, and NIST 800-88. Most of them should run on updated Android OS versions.
Download: Shreddit for Android (Free)
Make it a habit to use digital file shredders for deleted data
Although the digital file shredders we mentioned effectively delete data, they are not one-size-fits-all permanent deletion solutions. Feel free to explore other apps. Find one that works well with your most used platforms and that meets your file shredding needs.
Just note that shredders only stop cybercriminals from recovering deleted data. So apart from permanently deleting your files, you can also secure your cloud and local storage systems. Practices such as encryption of stored files go a long way in preventing cyber attacks.