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How to Securely Erase Private Data


Crucial Steps You Need To Take Before Typical After-Work Erasing With Eraser

CAUTION: Reading the following steps carelessly could cause you to disable your system and / or lose data you want to keep. So be sure to read them carefully.

Previous Step: Encrypt or Erase Backups, Disable Autosave Backups and RAID and Uninstall Unerase Software

Encrypt Adobe Form Entries and Toolbar History or Erase Them, Disable Auto-Complete and AutoFill and Uninstall Toolbar


WARNING: Setting Adobe Reader to save Adobe Form entries unencrypted leaves your private data vulnerable to spyware and prying eyes.

WARNING: If you installed Google Toolbar (in the current version) or Yahoo! Toolbar (in older versions) when installing Adobe Reader, either by accident or by choice, the searches you make in the toolbar are saved and if you enabled AutoFill when you filled a form, your private data are too, so if they're unencrypted or there's a key logger on your system, they're also vulnerable.

To appreciate the privacy risks created by browser toolbars, seriously consider this comment.

During Adobe Reader 8's installation process in Windows 2000, Windows XP and probably also Windows Vista, the downloader gives the option to download and install Google Toolbar in Internet Explorer 6 or 7. The option is checked by default. If unchecked, it supposedly will only download Adobe Reader 8.

And when downloading Adobe 6 or 7 in , you may or may not have been given the option to download Yahoo! Toolbar, which in some, if not all, cases was downloaded anyway. Then during installation, you may or may not have been asked if you wanted to install Yahoo Toolbar.

''Adobe was once a trusted resource. They are not now. It is sad to see them join the leagues of companies that need to be handled with care.'' - RMorrisson in PCMag.com forums

If you want to keep using your Google or Yahoo! toolbar, I recommend encrypting its search index and erasing your private search keywords after your search. Otherwise I strongly recommend securely erasing the search history saved by Google's or Yahoo!'s toolbar and uninstalling the toolbar.

If you've saved your Adobe Form entries in Adobe Reader and want to keep them for future form entry, I recommend encrypting them, preferrably on a removable medium, to keep them private. Otherwise, securely erase them and disable Auto-Complete in Adobe Reader.

Note: I don't yet know where Adobe Reader stores form entries. When I do, I'll give instructions on how to securely erase them. skip

Erase or Secure Backups, Disable Autosave Backups and RAID and Uninstall Unerase Software


WARNING: '' Nearly all software applications create helpful work-in-progress or backup files during normal operation. These files contain your private data...'' - Jiiva, Inc. - Autosave backups are made automatically by Microsoft Word, Excel, and other programs in case of a crash.

''Eraser will wipe the current file 100% but because MsWord and unerase type programs keep copies of any deleted file or in the case of MsWord a backup while you are editing, erasing the current document will only erase the current document. Backups are still scattered all over the drive.'' - Heidi Computers Ltd.

''Backups are a wonderful source of discoverable information...''

''Backups can take many forms. A computer user may backup his data to tapes or other devices. A thorough subpoena requests all backups of every kind and nature. There may be daily, weekly and even archival backups that are often stored off-site. Make sure that you clarify what the backup routine is and make sure that you get all of the backups.''

''Backups can also take the form of individual file copies. Many programs routinely and automatically create copies of data files. They often get automatically assigned extensions like 'bak.' ''

''For example, I might call this file 'column.doc' and WordPerfect might automatically create a file called 'column.bak' as a backup in case this file gets corrupted. These 'bak' files can hold wonderful tidbits and may be unencrypted although the file, in its final form, is encrypted and therefore unreadable.'' - Mark Grossman | skip

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), recovery software like GoBack and unerase software that take over and protect Windows' Recycle Bin like Norton Unerase, also save backups.

Note: If you have Norton Unerase installed and Norton Protected Recycle Bin enabled, Eraser 5.8 and later versions erase Norton unerase files when erasing the recycle bin. skip

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