PrivaZer, the complete free data eraser

With a multilingual interface and a very complete and thorough data cleanser that includes file and folder wiping, registry cleaner and Internet tracks eraser supporting all major browsers, PrivaZer will fulfil all of your secure data erasing needs. Each one of the cleaning sections has configurable options and the data wiping methods include a variety of different international standards.

The drop-down menu interface is easy to use, advanced options are hidden by default to avoid overwhelming beginners, users with data wiping software experience will love exploring what the options hide and being able to customize it to their own needs. Data erasing is not limited to your desktop computer, there is a list of supported devices that can be selected for a data scan, computer, internal storage device, external device, USB thumbdrive, MP3 player, SD memory card and Network Attached Storage. I specially liked the erasing of the USB devices history traces in Windows, the scan showed me what memory sticks I had plugged in a few months back, USB thumbdrives have a unique serial number that is stored in the registry when you plug it in, this number identifies the memory stick brand and anything else the manufacturer wants to include in the code.

PrivaZer smart cookie eraser

PrivaZer smart cookie eraser

PrivaZer is also one of the few freeware Internet erasing programs that will securely erase Windows pagefile, pagefile.sys. A registry cleaner with optional backup of registry keys is included too. You can set up PrivaZer so that your favourites settings cookies will be kept, e.g. Bing, Amazon, Yahoo, during the internet traces erasing and everything else will be securely erased (cache, history, thumbnails, flash player objects, searched words, etc).

This is the only eraser software I review that comes with instructions on its homepage on how a user can check that wiped data can not be recovered, including a manual with links to data recovery software and how to carry out data recovery tests on the wiped data to see for yourself that it is impossible to revert the data shredding process.

Secure data eraser PrivaZer

Secure data eraser PrivaZer

Data viewers come with the sotware, before erasing the data you can use PrivaZer to look into the contents of the hybernation file, hyberfil.sys, page file, pagefile.sys, IE index.dat and image thumbcache Thumbs.db. It is impossible for the average user to ever see the content of those files without special software and those are the first locations where a trained computer forensics expert will look into when a computer is taken in for analysis. Something to note is that the first clean up can take a couple of hours, the next hard drive sanitisation will be much quicker.

If you travel, a portable version can be generated during installation, a privaZer.exe that can be copied to a USB thumbdrive will be placed on the desktop.

PrivaZer main data wiping methods

  • British HMG IS5 Enhanced Standard (3 passes)
  •  Russian Gost P50739-95 (2 passes)
  • German Federal Office for Information Security (3 passes)
  •  USA Navy NAVSO P-5239-26 (3 passes)
  •  USA DoD 5220.22-M Department of Defense (3 passes)
  •  German VSITR (7 passes)
  •  Bruce Schneier’s Algorithm (7 passes)
  • Peter Gutmann’s Algorithm (35 passes)

 If you do not know what data wiping algorithm to use do not worry, PrivaZer provides factual and useful information when you select one of the methods by warning the user that overwritting data more than 4 times is useless and a waste of time.

This tool is without a doubt far better than many paid for data erasing software, I was taken aback by its all-round data erasing approach, deep scanning, complete information on what is being erased, where data is being stored and extreme configuration. I don’t think you will find anything better for free, PrivaZer is superior to BleachBit and probably as good CyberScrub, ProtectStar or Window Washer.

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