Many File Paths still viewable after Free Space Erase

phkhgh

Member
OK, I've searched the forums about Eraser leaving traces (or not) either:

1) Original file path information of erased files after free space erase

2) File names after wiped w/ Eraser (in some cases)


I didn't see actual file names after doing free space erase, but using recovery tool Fix It Utilities Pro 7, hundeds, if not thousands, of paths showing EVERYTHING except the file names remained after using Eraser 5.82. I use XP SP-2.

In Preferences>Unused Disk Space, the Overwrite : Directories box was checked (as were the other 2 boxes). I believe the help file says that directories will be erased. I take that to mean all information of where an erased file was stored. Otherwise, what's the point?

Side note: still using the term 'Directories' is sorta like calling a refrigerator an Ice Box:)

I used the Gutmann 35 pass option on the free space. In addition, people touting Eraser's virtues on other forum posts, mentioned it securely erased all file / path info & references. Either they were mistaken or it isn't working the way it should for me.

Seems even though the data in the file has been overwritten (to varying degrees), that leaving a big sign post saying "Here's where the file used to be, if anyone's interested" is a security flaw in itself.

If all one was concerned about was keeping an avg computer user or a data mining prgm from recovering certain data, just about ANY file wiping prgm would do - even w/ one pass.

Am I wrong? Does Eraser 5.82 in fact delete all path info of erased files?
Perhaps there's some setting I missed?

Maybe it depends on if Eraser was used to securely wipe the file(s) in the first place, or if it's just being used to wipe free space after files were either deleted w/ the OS delete, or another secure deleting prgm?
 

spy1

Member
You know, I'm really not even sure what you're asking here (or trying to point out - especially given the fact that I can't see what you're seeing. Any chance of you putting up a screenshot somewhere and linking to it?).

But just off the top of my head, your whole issue is a non-starter simply because without a file name or type, and with all zeroes showing on a zero-sized file after a free-space run with Eraser in whatever these "paths" are you're talking about - what difference do "paths" make if they can't be linked back to a specific bit of information?

Where I'm sitting, they make no difference whatsoever (assuming they actually exist after a properly-done Eraser free-space wipe).

Please enlighten me if I'm wrong (and get me a screenshot of the results you're talking about receiving with FixIt Pro).

Bare in mind that I'm using Eraser v5.8 here. Pete
 

phkhgh

Member
Well, did a little more checking.

Appears that when I use Eraser to erase a file (as opposed to files previously erased w/ (some) other programs), then I run a file recovery, NO evidence of the FILE NAME or its PATH NAME are found. Even for zero length files.

However, for files previously securely erased w/ some other wiping utility, then using Eraser 5.82 to wipe Free Space, the PATH NAMES for the erased files still show up in the recovery util (but not file names).

So, for data or files previously erased w/ [some] other wiping utilities, using Eraser to wipe Free Space may not keep the full path names of those erased files from showing in a file recovery utility.

So what's the big deal if path names show up but not the file names or data that was in the erased files? All depends. I can imagine some non-criminal scenarios where persons might not want it known WHERE files were located before the person took the trouble to securely erase them.

It's like this. Say a cat wants to catch a mouse. He looks for the mouse in places he believes it has been before or will be. If the cat has no idea that the mouse exists or ever existed, he may not be inclined to spend much time waiting (hunting) in a particular spot.

If on the other hand, the cat knows the mouse DEFINITELY was there before, he figures there's a good chance it'll be there again. So, now the cat knows where to look.

If you have files that you securely erase, but the full path name of where those files existed can be seen AND there are some files still in those folders (either now or later), I can see how it would just tip off anyone looking, exactly where YOU store your really TopSecretFiles.doc, or any others that you think are important enough to securely erase.

That's why it could be significant if path names of erased files can be seen.
 
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