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Friday, November 17th, 2006 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

When you delete a file in Windows, it’s gone forever, right? No, that would be wrong!

All that Windows does is delete the “pointer” to where the file was on your hard disk. It then allows that space to be used by another file at a later date. (Learn more here).

Well, for the people who know what to do (and there are many), it is an easy job to locate that file you deleted and recreate it so it can still be read.

Now, if the file is a chatty letter to your aunt about last year’s holidays, then there’s no problem, but what if it’s a file containing your credit card number, passwords for various Web sites or any confidential financial information about your company? Then it becomes a problem.

So, the question is: “What can I do to ensure that when I delete a file, it really is gone for good”?

And the answer is: You need a file shredder.

Lucky for you, I know one of the best, especially in view of the price, which is free! The one I am talking about it called SuperShredder.

Let’s start by going to the Web site, which you can find here. Go ahead and download yourself a copy of the program.

Install the program where you find suitable (just accept all the offered defaults if you are uncertain).

During the installation process, you will be asked if you want to register the program. As this is free , it basically just means that you will be notified when any updates are issued. It’s probably a good idea to do this (see screenshots below).

After that, you will be presented with the screen below, which gives you the instructions you need to complete this tip! Print them out and save them for future reference if you want.

Now, let’s start to use the SuperShredder.

Go to Start, All Programs, AnalogX, SuperShredder and then click on the SuperShredder icon.

This is the first screen you will see and it is the main operations center for your work with this program.

Here are the main features, which are labeled in the image above:

Config (1) – This is where you set the program to perform as you want it to.

Operations (2) – Here you can select the type of “shredding” you want to be done.

Select file (3) – This will open up an Explorer window for you to select the file to be deleted.

Done (4) – I think this one speaks for itself!

Lastly, you have Drag Files Onto Here (5). This enables you to do exactly what it says. You can short circuit the selection process if you have a file you want to be shredded immediately.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these options now (in most cases, there are a multitude of options in each section, which could be confusing, but you won’t go far wrong if you accept the defaults offered. You can always change things later when you get a bit more experienced if you choose to do so).

Config (1)

Clicking this will produce the following screen:

Please notice that all of the boxes, numbered from one to six on the above screenshot, can be toggled from Enabled to Disabled and back again just by clicking on the box itself. For example, where it says “Enabled” or “Disabled.”

In brief, you can decide whether or not to (1) have SuperShredder always on top, (2) have it minimized to the tray, (3) if you want to delete a whole directory and whether or not to ask for confirmation, (4) the number of passes when shredding one to five is sufficient; the more passes, the longer it takes), (5) to show the progress visibly on the screen or (6) whether you want to be asked for a confirmation of the file deletion before proceeding.

The final button (7) is a very useful one since you can elect to have SuperShredder included on the list of shortcuts when you right click the mouse on the file in question. With this, you can delete files “on the fly” as they are.

Operations (2)

This is where you decide what type of shredding you want to be done. There are a whole range of different procedures and algorithms that can be used, but for today, we will just accept the ones shown here by default.

By clicking on the ones you want, they can be performed in the order of priority indicated (for example, 1, 2 then 3, etc). Today, we will click on all three.

(Other operational methods are provided by SuperShredder and can be loaded by hitting the Import button and selecting from the list appearing (see next screen), but let’s keep it simple to start with and just use what we have here. This way is 100 percent safer than what most people have probably been doing up until now anyway!)

Select File (3)

Clicking on this button will open an Explorer type screen (see below), enabling you to select the file you want to delete.

(You will note that a confirmation screen has also popped up here since we elected to have a confirmation on files enabled previously).

That is just about that. It’s not at all difficult, it’s very secure and at an affordable cost! What more could you want?!

If, by any chance, you want to go deeper into the file shredding and the various algorithms in use, a good starting point is this Web site on file wiping. Run with it!

~ David Woodford

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