Wipe your drives securely with a hidden Windows 7 tool

21 Giu/10

It’s always a worry when you get rid of a PC or hard drive that all sorts of personal data could be sitting on it waiting to be stolen.  This is even more important when it comes to business computers.

There have always been a huge variety of hard disk wiping packages available from third-parties, but did you know that Windows 7 has it’s own free in-built tool for securely erasing, not just whole hard disks, but specific folders as well?

The cipher.exe tool has been around for years now and is used for managing the EFS (Encrypted File System) feature that preceeded Bitlocker and was first introduced with Windows 2000.  It’s run from the Command Prompt (as an Administrator).

With Windows 7 though Microsoft have added a new switch to the tool, and it’s one you should definitely use with care!

 The command is Simply cipher /w x:folder where you would substitute x:folder for the location you want wiped, for instance your D: drive or your C:UsersMike HalseyMusic folder.

This will write a series of 0s, 1s and then random characters to every sector of the drive or folder to securely erase the data that’s stored there.  Believe me, if you do this casually you’re not going to get your data back afterwards.

Microsoft say that this feature is here for clearing empty folders and drives that need to be erased, and it’s an excellent way to save money on expensive third-party software.

So the next time you’re upgrading your hard disk, don’t waste your money, just cipher the thing instead.

© Mike Halsey for gHacks technology news, Software And Internet Tips For The Geek In You, 2010. | Permalink | Add to, digg, facebook, reddit, <a href=" your drives securely with a hidden Windows 7 toolstumbleupon, twitter
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