Why should we wipe free disk space on our hard drives? As you probably already know, once your recycle bin is emptied the files are not really erased; they just do not show up anymore and Windows uses the space whenever it is needed. The problem with this is that Windows writes randomly to the hard drive and until all the sectors taken up by the erased file get overwritten, your file is not really gone. In this tutorial will show you how to wipe your free disk space. I will also show you how to do it on a schedule in case you forget. This will prevent your erased data from falling into the wrong hands. We are going to be using a small and handy utility called Eraser which can be set up to wipe your hard drive’s free disk space from Windows, using the most advanced techniques.
Creating a Task
Download and install Eraser. There is nothing special worth mentioning about the installation; just keep clicking “Next” until finished.
Once installed, open eraser, right-click anywhere on the empty schedule list and click on “New Task“.
On the Task Properties window, select “Recurring“. This will allow you to schedule the operation.
Then, click the “Add Data” button to select the data to be erased; this is where you can specify whether you want to wipe a specific file, folder or free disk space.
It is entirely up to you to choose the erasure method. You can leave it as “Default” (which is in fact a single pass of pseudorandom data) or you can click on the drop-down menu and choose from the wide variety of methods provided by Eraser. Bear in mind that the higher number of passes the method that you choose has, the longer the process will take, and the highest the strain on your hard drive will be over time, specially if you are going to schedule a task that will run periodically. Other good methods to choose for the paranoid are the ones involving 3 passes, like US DoD, British HMS, US army, US Air force, etc. These methods will be secure enough and will probably finish in time if you leave them running each day over night.
Next, on the same window, select “Unused Disk Space“, making sure that you have the correct hard drive selected and “Erase Cluster Tips” checked; click “OK” and remain on the “Task Properties” window if you want to schedule the task.
Scheduling the Task
Next, we are going to be scheduling our task. For this example we are going to set the application to wipe the hard drive every day at 6pm, all weekdays and excluding weekends. This would be the perfect setup for the workplace where the day usually ends at 5PM and weekends are off.
Assuming you are in the “Task Properties” window, click on the “Schedule” tab.
For this example we are going to set the task to run at 6:00PM.
Next, select “Weekly” and pick the days of the week you wish to run the task. For this example, we are setting the task to run every week, Monday through Friday and excluding weekends.
Click “OK” to finish.
You should now see a new task added in your main Eraser window. Eraser is set by default to run each time you start Windows.