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Securely Wipe / Delete Files and Cache History Using CCleaner

R ecently I sold one of my computer to a guy on Craigslist.  Before I handed it over to him however, I decided I wanted to “Wipe my tracks” so to speak of all personal information.  Now granted, there are many ways to clear your browsing history using your web browser’s built-in interface but what about other files on your Hard Drive?

Also, did you realize that when you delete a file or clear your cache using FireFox or IE, your not actually deleting anything from your Hard Drive?  What it happens is your system simply removes it from view, and marks it as reusable space.  So until the space is re-used, it can be recovered using a simple Disk Recovery forensics application.

So, today I’m going to talk about How-To securely wipe or delete files & browser history / cache on your Hard Drive permanently.

CCleaner is free/freeware application that can delete / wipe files from your Hard Drive including browser history and cache as reviewed in 2 previous articles:

 

First, Let’s get CCleaner Installed

1.   Download and Install CCleaner from the CCLeaner Download Page

Note: If your a MAC user, take a look here for details on the MAC version

Download CCleaner to Securely Wipe / Delete files and cache from windows

 

2.   Run the Install Wizard for CCleaner, by Double-Clicking on the file you just downloaded.  The install is pretty self-explanatory.
Optional: I recommend you un-check installing the Yahoo! toolbar option during install.  This is probably why the software is free ;)

Download CCleaner to Securely Wipe / Delete files and cache from windows

 

3.   Open CCleaner, Click Options, Settings, Secure File-Deletion and Select DOD 5220.22-M (3 passes)

Note –  Sophisticated forensic applications can recover “Fragments” of data left on your hard drive even after you delete / wipe them.  To minimize the amount of “Fragments” left behind, CCleaner allows you to wipe / overwrite the files your deleting multiple times to ensure the data cannot be retrieved.  Simple Overwrite (1-3 passes) is typically secure enough for most people, however if you’re super paranoid you can choose the NSA or Military-Grade Gutmann 35 pass deletion.

Configure CCleaner to Securely Wipe and delete files 3 times or DOD 5220.22-M

4.   Click on the Cleaner tab, and then Click Run Cleaner.

Note – You can customize what files you would like to delete, and there is even options for erasing different Application history on your computer.
Begin Secure Wipe of Temp files and Cache using CCleaner

That’s it!  Your computer is now Clean and very Groovy!

Note for Advanced Users

CCleaner also offers a reliable Registry & Startup Cleaner.  Before using these options however, you should fully understand what your doing and configure the application to backup your files.  You can find these options in the Advanced Options menus.

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7 Responses to Securely Wipe / Delete Files and Cache History Using CCleaner

  1. Animis November 22, 2008 at 11:39 pm #

    I use this quite often, mostly because I’m lazy and it does everything for me…

  2. MrGroove November 24, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

    @Animis – Some say Lazy, some say smart. It’s all about having the right tool :)

  3. Crew November 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    You can also select custom folders or files to be deleted when you press the Run Cleaner button,
    just go to Options > Include > Add Folder/File
    Once you are on this screen you can drag files right onto CCleaner to be added automatically.
    That way it shreds whatever you want!

  4. sarah June 21, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    amazing method n as said previously (( FAST ))

  5. MacGirl November 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    I tried to download CCleaner on my Mac… it downloaded, but disappeared from my downloads tab, so I wasn’t able to run the install wizard.. I looked for it in Finder, and it seems to work… but I didn’t have to set it up… it was the free download version for Mac. I don’t have the page with setting, cookies, advanced etc why is this? I only have Cleaner and tools on my side bar also, not registry tools options etc and it says Analyze and Clean on the bottom. Have a I downloaded a partial version? Thanks so much, I know nothing about this, help would be appreciated

  6. website December 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    1 potato

  7. jessica December 30, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    okay after stuff is deleted using this device, how can i retrieve it! we use it on our computer very often to help keep the device running smoothly. i know some sites like fb iTunes and limewire cause it to run slow. so after visiting these sites i always use it. but it deletes ALL OF MY HISTORY! i am currently in school and i had not saved a file on firefox that i needed, and my boyfriend ran the cleaner last night before we turned off the device! is there any way i can retrieve the URL?! we are currently on break and i am out of state and can not seem to get a hold of my professor to find out the website! i have a 26-30 page paper due on January 9th and we go back on the 6th! i need help!

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