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How to Securely Erase Private Data


How to Set Up and Use Eraser

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

Set Up Eraser

Index.dat Files

Other Ways to Erase Index.dat Files

Previous: Other Index.dat Files

At the Command Prompt


Caution: Eraser Launcher (eraserl.exe) does not ask for a confirmation before erasing your data.

  1. If you installed Eraser in C:\Program Files\Eraser, double-left-click (or single click, if you changed the setting) on My Computer > C: drive icon > Program Files > Eraser.
  2. Press Ctrl+C or right-click on the eraserl.exe or eraserd.exe file and select Copy, go back two views or pages to C: drive (the view after clicking on the C: Drive icon) and press Ctrl+V or right-click on an empty space and paste the file.
  3. Restart your computer and press the F8 key several times until a menu appears.
  4. Select Command Prompt or Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
  5. At the C prompt, type in the following command for each main folder containing index.dat files in that folder and its subfolders, or for each index.dat file (listed after these steps). For example:
    • Windows Vista
    • eraserl -folder "c:\users\UN\history" -subfolders -keepfolder -method DoD
    • If you're familiar with and prefer typing MS-DOS's abreviated names for folders with names that contain spaces between two or more words, use the eraserd command instead.
    • eraserd -folder c:\users\UN\history -passes 7
    • Windows XP
    • eraserl -folder "c:\documents and settings\UN\history" -subfolders -keepfolder -method DoD
    • Or with eraserd:
    • eraserd -folder c:\docume~1\UN\history -passes 7
    • For each index.dat file:
    • Windows Vista
    • eraserl -file "c:\users\UN\cookies\index.dat" -method DoD -queue -silent
    • If you're familiar with and prefer typing MS-DOS's abreviated names for folders with names that contain spaces between two or more words, use the eraserd command instead.
    • eraserd -file c:\users\UN\cookies\index.dat -passes 7
    • Windows XP
    • eraserl -file "c:\documents and settings\UN\cookies\index.dat" -method DoD -queue -silent
    • Or with eraserd:
    • eraserd -file c:\docume~1\UN\cookies\index.dat -passes 7
    • (eraserl and eraserd are not typing errors - make sure you include the l or d and replace UN with the user name of the administrator account: the first created account - DoD is 7 passes, DoD_E is 3 passes - optional parameters: queue tells eraserl to wait until previous instances have finished and silent keeps it from giving an error message when the file isn't found - for a list of available parameters, type eraserl or eraserd at the command prompt and press enter)
    • Note: You should only use your administrator account to install software and security updates and erase your computing history, and create a Limited User account for secure online use.
    • Instead of putting a copy of the eraserl.exe or eraserd.exe file on the C: drive, you may navigate to the folder Eraser is in using the cd FOLDER NAME command.
      • a. If Eraser is installed in the Program Files folder on your computer, type c: and press Enter or Return;
      • Type cd program files or if that doesn't work, cd progra~1
      • (always the first 6 letters of the folder's name plus the tilde or squiggly line and the number 1 when a folder name consists of two words)
      • b. Press Enter or Return to open the Program Files folder.
      • c. Type cd eraser (or whatever name you've given Eraser's folder) and press Enter or Return to open the Eraser folder.
  6. Press Enter or Return and repeat the command for each file.

Note: You don't need to repeat the following commands for other user accounts if you follow my instructions and create tasks to erase the contents of the indicated folders in those accounts. Eraser will erase all the index.dat files in the other accounts.

The locked index.dat files in your currently logged on account are the only ones you need to erase at the command prompt, if you choose that method.

Command Prompt Locations in Windows Vista


(replace UN with your user name)

In c:\users\UN\locals~1:
In c:\users\UN\appdata\local\microsoft\windows:


In c:\users\UN\appdat~1\roaming\microsoft:


Command Prompt Locations in Windows XP


(replace UN with your user name)

In c:\docume~1\UN:

Just in case the following index.dat files also contain private data, enter the commands for them as well.

In c:\docume~1\defaul~1\:
In c:\docume~1\locals~1\:
In c:\docume~1\networ~1\:
In c:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\:


(*or winnt)

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