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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 hiberfil.sys or Erase It, Then Disable Hibernation Mode

Encrypt Registry or Erase, Then Disable AutoComplete in Internet Explorer and / or Alternative Browser

WARNING: Setting your browser, especially Internet Explorer, to save your usernames, passwords, web site addresses in your address bar's drop down list and form entries, leaves them vulnerable to those determined to view them.

WARNING: Saving passwords to e-mail, medical, banking and other commercial sites in your browser's password manager leaves not only your passwords vulnerable to theft, but also your money and private data. skip

  • Internet Explorer's AutoComplete data is stored in Windows' registry files, without which Windows can't function. So if you've saved private data in Internet Explorer, you have two options. You can delete their registry keys, but that leaves your private data available for easy recovery and viewing. I recommend the safer option.

    ''If you need to wipe (not just delete) registry keys, I only know of one way to do it: Have autoexec.bat wipe your entire system.dat & user.dat files on start-up, and replace them from known clean backups. (Remember to update the backups when you install or remove applications!)'' - Steve K

    Enter RegBack1 and RegBack2, ''two sets of batch files, one with the file-wiper Scorch.com (fast) and another set with Eraserd.exe (slower...but more efficient) both of which will back up your registry to a folder;...''

    ''...and then upon a reboot of the computer, they run DOS commands from the Autoexec.bat at startup to erase the contents of your static swap-file, wipe the old registry files, and restore a clean registry to the system from previously sanitised files in their registry backup folder. They clean up your system before Windows even loads.''

    ''This gets rid of extraneous reg keys from temporary software installations, nullif[ie]s pesky run commands from trojans and virii, and eliminate[s] web-surfing tracks and all other information relating to your usage of the computer; everything that was logged into the registry since the last time the files [were] run.''

    ''In addition, Regback2 will destroy all the cookies, history lists and 'index.dat' files in the Windows dir[ectory]; or any other self-replicating files you may find that log your personal usage statistics.'' - The SCD Team

    1. Encrypt your Windows partition (fairly secure) or your whole hard drive (more secure), or delete your AutoComplete data with Internet Explorer, an alternative browser or one of the following free software and your MRU (most recently used) lists for Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and third-party applications with Spybot, Ad-Aware or MRU-Blaster.
    2. Back up your sanitized registry.
    3. Erase your swap or page file (Windows recreates it on startup) and system.dat and user.dat files and restore your sanitized registry with RegBack1 or RegBack2 (I recommend RegBack2).
    4. Disable AutoComplete in Internet Explorer or, if you use an alternative browser, its private data-saving features. And save your usernames and passwords in RoboForm or RoboForm2Go (formerly Pass2Go) (free), a very convenient and secure username and password manager with automatic form entry and antiphishing / antikeylogger technology. Your private data are saved in strongly encrypted files.
      • If you use Mac OS X, extend Keychain's abilities with 1Passwd. (limited free and full commercial password manager and autofill extension for Safari, Camino, Firefox, Flock, OmniWeb 5.5, DEVONagent 2.0 and NetNewsWire browsers - based on Mac OS X Keychain - better than Keychain, RoboForm and Safari's AutoFill - the only Mac password manager with antiphishing / antikeylogger technology)
    5. Switch to one of these alternative browsers that leave your sensitive data significantly more secure and private than Internet Explorer does.

    Secure Erasing Guide

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