General discussion

Delete files - Prevent Recovery Apps from seeing file names.

I would like to know how to delete files from my Vista computer and then prevent file recovery programs from being able to see them.
I don't want the file names to appear in any file recovery programs.

I have tried a few applications here on CNET downloads that delete/shred unused file space. They have not worked.

I have tried copying a folder with large paint files to fill up my hard drive to overwrite everything. That hasn't worked.

I use Recuva. It still lists files that I have deleted/shredded/written over.

How can I delete these file names from appearing?

Recuva has a right-click option supposedly overwrite these files, but their names still appear.



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Grinding it a bit finely?

If the file is overwritten it is not recoverable.

But that's not your goal. You want the DIRECTORY entry to be overwritten. notes they considered that to be a bug worth fixing.

I will not vet, vouch for Eraser but I see what you are asking even though I'd not worry about the directory entries.

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Yes - Details, Details


I admit that I am a person who probably...occasionally...(more often than I want to admit) is too involved in little things like this.
But, my concern with this circumstance really does have some practical validity to it.

I used to have a World War II airplane game installed on my computer. Now, when I search deleted files using Recuva, I see pages and pages of files left from that game in the disk directory. Most of them are in a number of my user's AppData folders. But, a lot of them a listed as being in the "C:\?" folder - which I'm assuming means that Recuva can't quite locate the path to them.

The only way I've found to remove these file names from the directory listing is to copy and paste a folder with some huge image files until my C: drive is full. But, that doesn't work for everything. It won't work with the files listed as "C:\?" because I don't know where these files are.

I want to eliminate these files from the directory so I can use Recova in the future and not have to sift through all the old game file names. It is really a pain when I delete an image that I need a few days later.

I will search more for a utility. In the mean time, I will just have to look at all the game files.

Z Girl

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Is the search over?

The link I provided is to an open source, free eraser app named Eraser.

It's something I've never used but it appears to do what you ask.

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I will look into this. I read the bug fix report.



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The proven way ...

(although a lot of work).

- Copy all your DATA to an external device.
- Copy it again to another external device (one isn't enough).
- Zero the disk (KILLDISK, DBAN)
- Reinstall the OS (including all security patches and so on), all drivers, all applications (including their patches). Note that the recovery partition (if you had one) is non-existing now.
- Redo all settings and such.
- Restore all your data from the external device.


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Wow...Yeah...That's a possibility...


Yes, that is a possibility. I didn't give that idea much thought because I have Visual Studio, SQL Server and a number of other apps installed. And, I have a big web project that I'm working on. So, for me to rebuild my computer isn't really an option right now. And, for some gaming files, it's not really worth it.

But, thanks for the suggestion.


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The File Recovery application Restoration 2.5.14 ...

This is an easy to use File Recovery utility. It is little known though that it can also be used for deleting the file names from the FAT where other reovery applications find them after they are gone.

To do this you initiate a search for deleted files with both check boxes checked (for empty clusters and o byte file size) and after the search completes you click the menu Others (strange but true) and select the bottom item to delete everything. This is going to take some time and the time it takes might be QUITE LONG on a large drive, so do it while you are doing something else such as sleeping.

This does work and it works well but in the future use file names that are meaningless to others as it is time consuming.
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Thanks for the suggestion


I just downloaded this app. I will give it a try.
The reviews here on CNET for it are good, too.

Thanks for all the details, too.

Z Girl

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test results


As a test, I tried the app on my flash drive. I assumed that the results would be the same as if I ran it against my hard drive. I followed your directions. I wouldn't have noticed that "Others" menu if you hadn't pointed it out.

It didn't clear the list of file names even though it may have deleted the data. I wanted to get rid of the file names, too.

I will try Eraser next.

Z Girl

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