Drive wiper

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  1. coolnewyorker's Avatar
    Posts : 114
    W10 Home( 64-bit)
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       #11

    There must be some indication to "destroy" data in free space other than to make them irretrievable. But then again, there must be some contraindication to destroying data. In my profession (Medicine), absence of indication is a contraindication. Example: when there is no need for antibiotics (no infection), administering Penicillin is an absolute contraindication.

    In other words, what are indications and contraindication for CCleaner's Drive Wipe (or MS' Cipher Cmmd)?
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  2. coolnewyorker's Avatar
    Posts : 114
    W10 Home( 64-bit)
    Thread Starter
       #12

    I just found out there are two options in wiping C: drive.. One is erasing just some free space contents. The other is wiping the entire C: drive. What does it accomplice? What happens when the entire C: drive is wiped out?
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  3. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 22,728
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #13

    coolnewyorker said:
    I just found out there are two options in wiping C: drive.. One is erasing just some free space contents. The other is wiping the entire C: drive. What does it accomplice? What happens when the entire C: drive is wiped out?
    Well, your PC stops booting for a start!

    When a file is deleted the storage space it used isn't cleared, nor is the entry pointing to it in the Master File Table (MFT). What happens is the file entry is marked as deleted by putting a special character at the beginning of its filename and the space the file once occupied is marked as free to be reused. There is no advantage, performance or storage wise, in doing anything further.

    Deleted entries are marked differently depending on the file system. For example, on FAT any deleted entry, file or folder are marked with ASCII symbol 229 (0xE5) that becomes the first symbol of the entry. On NTFS deleted entry has a special attribute in file header that points whether the file has been deleted or not.
    Disk Scan for deleted entries - NTFS.com

    The sole purpose of 'drive wiping' is to make it difficult/impossible for anyone else to recover those deleted files. As long as the MFT entry is still there it is trivially easy to look at where it once pointed and, as long as the space hasn't been reused, recover the deleted file intact.

    Writing zeros to every unused sector is a good way to wear out an SSD. But clearing the MFT of those pointers to deleted files, now that makes the trivial task of following those pointers into a mammoth task of reading every unused sector and trying to put them back in an order that make sense as a file. It's like trying to put together an unknown number of jigsaws puzzles that have been mixed together, and where you cannot even be sure that all the pieces are still present.

    CCleaner's drive wipe can also clean the MFT, but only as part of wiping the free space. A tool that can just wipe deleted file entries from the MFT would be almost as effective at protecting your data from recovery, and would be kinder to your SSD (and a lot faster to run). I used to use CCleaner for this sort of privacy, but I have recently been looking for something just to clear the MFT. I found (and used) PrivaZer....

    Drive wiper-privazer.png

    Free PC cleaner & Privacy tool
    Last edited by Bree; 01 Dec 2021 at 04:11.
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  4. coolnewyorker's Avatar
    Posts : 114
    W10 Home( 64-bit)
    Thread Starter
       #14

    Well, your PC stops booting for a start!
    That means the PC is dead? Amazing! Why would CC make such option? Why opt to wipe the entire C: drive?
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  5. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 22,728
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #15

    coolnewyorker said:
    Well, your PC stops booting for a start!
    That means the PC is dead? Amazing! Why would CC make such option? Why opt to wipe the entire C: drive?
    It actually won't let you. If you select 'Entire Drive (All data will be erased)' the C: drive gets greyed out so you can't select it.

    Drive wiper-image.png
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  6. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 12,269
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro
       #16

    Bree said:
    It actually won't let you. If you select 'Entire Drive (All data will be erased)' the C: drive gets greyed out so you can't select it.
    @coolnewyorker Right, Windows and other Operating Systems won't kill themselves, a clean wipe requires booting to different media such as a GPARTED Bootable CD or a Linux LiveDVD with GPARTED on it.
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  7. coolnewyorker's Avatar
    Posts : 114
    W10 Home( 64-bit)
    Thread Starter
       #17

    It actually won't let you. If you select 'Entire Drive (All data will be erased)' the C: drive gets greyed out so you can't select it.
    That's a relief.
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