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How to Securely Erase Private Data

Contents

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

Previous: Document and Browser History

E-Mail

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Outlook or Outlook Express

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WARNING: Because Outlook and Outlook Express are the e-mail programs used most, they're one of the three main targets of malicious code writers - Windows and Internet Explorer are the other two. So using them in Windows XP exposes your computer to viruses, worms and trojans designed specifically for these popular programs.

WARNING: Believe it or not, Outlook and Outlook Express's index files store more than just your sent and received e-mail. ''These databases are...creepy, and I strongly recommend you take [a look] at the files. Just from my outbox.dbx file I was able to view some of my old browsing history, bring up previously-visited websites in HTML format, and even read ancient e-mail from my Eudora client.'' - The Riddler

WARNING: Erasing your e-mail index files will erase all your e-mail and your address book. So make sure you back them up first, preferrably in encrypted form. Then store the backup in a safe place.

If you've used Outlook or Outlook Express and / or have chosen to use it in spite of the risks, create tasks for the following files (select File instead of Files on folder). Then, I strongly recommend erasing them often, after backing up your e-mail and address book.

Otherwise, switch to one of the less popular, alternative e-mail programs.

(replace UN with your user name and NUMBER with the number of the folder)

Windows Vista
In C:\Users\UN\AppData\Local\

Windows XP
In C:\Documents and Settings\UN\
Local Settings\Application Data\

Identities\NUMBER\Microsoft\Outlook or Outlook Express:

Inbox.mbx (or .dbx or .pst)
Outbox.mbx (or .dbx or .pst)
Sent Items.mbx (or .dbx or .pst)
Deleted Items.mbx (or .dbx or .pst)

Thunderbird

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To lessen security and privacy risks, I recommend using Mozilla Thunderbird as your e-mail program. If you use Thunderbird, create a task for the following files.
(remember to select File instead of Files on folder)

(replace UN with your user name, NAME with the name of the folder, and AN with the account name)

Windows Vista
In C:\Users\UN\AppData\Roaming:

Windows XP
In C:\Documents and Settings\UN\Application Data:

Thunderbird\Profiles\NAME.default\Mail\AN:

Inbox and Inbox.msf
Drafts and Drafts.msf
Junk and Junk.msf
Sent and Sent.msf
Trash and Trash.msf

Opera Mail

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Note: The mail storage formats in Opera 8.xx and Opera 9 are different.

(replace UN with your user name)

Windows Vista
In C:\Users\UN\AppData\Roaming\

Windows XP
In C:\Documents and Settings\UN\Application Data\

Opera\Opera\mail:

Or in C:\Program Files\Opera\mail:

mailbase.dat
account*/*.mbs or .mbx


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