Simple guide to deleting internet content with Eraser!!

Kythe

Member
Techno phobia said:
Thanks for your replies, I may consider investing in software in the future, so thanks for the recommendation. :)

Basically once I've erased the following:

Erased unused disc space
Eraser or deleted index.dat files after opening and closing IE.
Erased swap files on shutdown
Deleted remaining temporary files in disc clean (assuming I find a way of deleting them).
Deleted usage & search assistant tracks with spybot
Deleted email attachments
Cleared cluster tips whilst in a different mode

Once I've done all that can I be more or sure that no one will find any of my internet content on the computer (i.e (the computer engineer, or just a very clever PC wizard)??

Last few questions, will files deleted in the recycle bin be cleared by erasing unused space??

How can I locate web client/publisher files in order to delete??

Is there anything I should run in order to be sure that content can't be found via journal viewer??

Thanks very much once again. :D
No problem. This is good stuff to go over, and a FAQ along these lines should probably be created.

The one thing I'd mention about the above is that I'd clear unused disk space after everying else. That's because it makes sure there are no deleted temp files left over, and makes sure the NTFS journal file ($LogFile -- see http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs-system-files.htm for info) is flushed by the unused space wiping process.

As for web client/publisher files, well, I haven't used Publisher nor Front Page (which I assume would be the source for these files), so I can't be sure. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Spybot got those, too (at least, if you're talking about temp or history files). A lot of application files can be found under your profile (e.g. c:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data), temporary files can be found in your temp directory (C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Temp -- Spybot normally clears this directory) and document files can be found in your "My Documents" directory or a subdirectory under it. Check there, and use Eraser to wipe them manually, or set up a "shutdown" script that handles erasing the contents of the files/subdirectories in question.
 

nodrick

New Member
Further thoughts.

It might be worthwhile downloading this little application:
http://www.theabsolute.net/sware/dskinv.html
which will enable you to have a pretty good look at what might be still lurking on your hard drive that you might wish to remove! It is a little bit awkward to discover how to dig deep into your data on the HDD,but half an hours delving might prove very informative! In fact it resembles a very simplified form of the forensic application "Encase".
For example,although I use Eudora for e-mails,rather than Outlook Express,I did discover some while back,by using the above application,that deleting e-mails did not entirely remove them- including any image attachments! Only by deleting/emptying trash/and compacting the mail box,can one be reasonably sure of their removal. In fact,now I use Eraser to make sure that any such attachments are really erased!
Regarding web publisher files,are these not(optionally)deleted by aWindows Disc Cleanup?
 
Thanks for the download, looks like it could be quite useful to me actually. After all it's rather difficult to find what else could be on your harddrive without actually doing a very concise search for it. :D

As for the web client/ publisher files, they simply won't delete, I've tried disc clean but it just won't remove them, I've no idea why!! :?
 

Glenn

Member
By any chance is Disk Cleanup reporting WebClient/Publisher Temporary Files 32 KB? If so, they are probably empty.

Many Windows cache files are recreated automatically. Most have a default minimum file size (usually a multiple of 16 KB) even when empty.

Also, I just remembered what you said in your first post. If you're using the current version of CCleaner, it does a pretty good job but FYI:

1. if you use Outlook, it doesn't seem to clean the hidden OLK temporary file (websearch for "Microsoft Really Hidden Files" for more info);
2. it may not clean the log files in a software firewall (it definitely doesn't clean Norton Internet Security logs).

Some other cleaners can clean these so Spybot may.
 
Yes, web client/publisher files do show as 32 KB.

So are you saying the temp files in disc clean may be inaccessible but are still been shown as being there??

I have outlook on my PC but never use it, does that mean it will not be storing attachments and/or temp files??

Lastly what is FYI??

Thanks. :D
 

Robbie

Member
FYI = For Your Information

the temp files folder has at its heart an index.dat file, as does temp internet files and history. When it is empty it shows as being either 16kb or 32kb in size - the size of the empty index.dat file. As data is saved to these files so they grow. When they are purged (cleaned) they revert back to 16kb / 32kb.
 

Glenn

Member
I'm saying that you've probably been successfully cleaning the temp files but the empty files are reported as 16 or 32 KB (and start accumulating data again).

A visible demonstration of this: Open your browser History and (assuming there's nothing important in the folder) delete Today. As soon as you use View > Refresh, a new empty Today will appear.

Outlook only seems to use an OLK folder if you view attachments or embedded objects such as graphics in an e-mail. It's supposed to clear itself but doesn't always do so. If you've never used Outlook, it shouldn't be an issue. I don't know if other e-mail software uses anything similar.
 

Kythe

Member
Re: Further thoughts.

nodrick said:
It might be worthwhile downloading this little application:
http://www.theabsolute.net/sware/dskinv.html
which will enable you to have a pretty good look at what might be still lurking on your hard drive that you might wish to remove! It is a little bit awkward to discover how to dig deep into your data on the HDD,but half an hours delving might prove very informative! In fact it resembles a very simplified form of the forensic application "Encase".
I second the recommendation for Disk Investigator (the program linked-to above). I used that program to view raw disk data a few months back in checking whether Eraser does what it says. I wasn't disappointed. :)
 
Thanks for both your replies.

Just reverting back to a question I asked earlier. Kythe said that he uses eraser to erase all temps, index.dat and history files on shutdown and also metioned you can erase SWAP files on shutdown. The only trouble is I'm not really sure how you do that, I'm assuming you schedule a task. I know there's a box you can tick in "general" which will erase SWAP files but I can't find anything for Index.dat or history/temp files. :?

Next- In spybot do the 'usage tracks' come under 'problems' when you do the scan??

Another thing is will eraser and/or spybot actually delete the file name as well as the file when you run either unused disc space with eraser or S&D with spybot??

And, finally I've had a look at the tool which enables you to see further into your harddrive but it is just full of number codes, is this normal. Also I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be looking for or how to find it. Are there any help guides you know on the web site or any info in general which may help me?

Sorry about how long this thread it getting, I know eraser comes with a help guide, but most of what I need to know is not in talked about in the guide.
 

Kythe

Member
Techno phobia said:
Thanks for both your replies.

Just reverting back to a question I asked earlier. Kythe said that he uses eraser to erase all temps, index.dat and history files on shutdown and also metioned you can erase SWAP files on shutdown. The only trouble is I'm not really sure how you do that, I'm assuming you schedule a task. I know there's a box you can tick in "general" which will erase SWAP files but I can't find anything for Index.dat or history/temp files. :?
I use DOS scripts to do the erasing of these files on logout/shutdown (I actually have separate logoff and shutdown scripts). These things are easy to set up in Windows XP Pro; Windows XP Home is another matter (I think you can set up such scripts in Home edition, but I'm not sure how). On the other hand, you can also run such scripts by putting links to them in the "Startup" directory in your "Start" menu. Pretty much the same effect.

How I use Eraser -- logoff and shutdown scripts

You've already located the means to eliminate the page file on shutdown.

If you want to be extra careful, by the way, you can download and install a free program called "Cryptoswap Guerilla". It encrypts the page file with a new encryption key each time you start your computer, and clears the key on shutdown, making any information stored in the page file unrecoverable from session to session.

Next- In spybot do the 'usage tracks' come under 'problems' when you do the scan??
Yes, though they're not listed as "immediate threats".

Another thing is will eraser and/or spybot actually delete the file name as well as the file when you run either unused disc space with eraser or S&D with spybot??
You can set Spybot to do a "shred" on useage tracks files (essentially, erase the file), though I've not verified that Spybot does this as effectively as Eraser.

However, a free-space wipe by Eraser does wipe the file name entries of deleted files, so following up a Spybot run with a free-space wipe by Eraser takes care of things.

And, finally I've had a look at the tool which enables you to see further into your harddrive but it is just full of number codes, is this normal. Also I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be looking for or how to find it. Are there any help guides you know on the web site or any info in general which may help me?
It depends upon where you look. If you select the "directories" option in the upper-left-hand corner and look at the location where a text file is stored, Disk Investigator should show you the text as read from the disk. Aside from the help file that comes with the program, I'm not sure of what else might be available. You might try doing a Google search for a program called "Winhex" that does something very similar; there might be more help available there...

Sorry about how long this thread it getting, I know eraser comes with a help guide, but most of what I need to know is not in talked about in the guide.
No problem whatsoever :)
 
Thanks once again.

A few more :wink:

Once you've set up Eraser log off scripts can you disable them by unistalling Eraser. Also how does it do the erasing, will it do it whilst you computer is switched off??

How often do I have to carry out the security measures ( erase unused disc space, run spybot etc.) in order to maintain very high privacy??

Will everything that I've deleted in the recycle bin be erased on a unused disc space wipe.

Finally, I only started deleting files through the control panel around a year ago, believe it or not I didn't even know that the files you view are stored on your PC (yes, I am computer illiterate). Anyway will these files (temp internet, cookies) still be viewable, if so where on a standard PC would old files be stored??
 

Kythe

Member
Techno phobia said:
Thanks once again.

A few more :wink:

Once you've set up Eraser log off scripts can you disable them by unistalling Eraser. Also how does it do the erasing, will it do it whilst you computer is switched off??
Uninstalling Eraser won't disable the scripts per se; they'll still try to run, but won't be able to run the "Eraser" lines because Eraser's no longer there. I would imagine the script would just report "file not found" or somesuch and move on.

When you set up logoff/shutdown scripts, the scripts run before the computer shuts down. So, for instance, I have a shutdown script that runs eraser to clear unused disk space; the computer clears all unused disk space before turning off. Since this generally takes an hour or so, I usually only shut my computer down at night (when I really don't care how long it takes to clear the unused space).

How often do I have to carry out the security measures ( erase unused disc space, run spybot etc.) in order to maintain very high privacy??
As often as you want. Sometimes I'll leave my computer running overnight, or just logout (the logoff script itself wipes most user info, but doesn't clear disk space). Until you clear the user info, though, remember it's still there, accumulating.

Will everything that I've deleted in the recycle bin be erased on a unused disc space wipe.
No. That's why the shutdown script I use has Eraser wipe the contents of the recycle bin. You can do so manually as well through Windows Explorer (right-click on the recycle bin; "erase contents of the recycle bin" should be one of the options).

Finally, I only started deleting files through the control panel around a year ago, believe it or not I didn't even know that the files you view are stored on your PC (yes, I am computer illiterate). Anyway will these files (temp internet, cookies) still be viewable, if so where on a standard PC would old files be stored??
If you deleted the files, there could still be some tracking info in the form of "User Assist" registry entries and Index.dat file contents. You can view these contents using programs like IndexDat Spy, for example.
 
But is there any way of completely disabling the scripts once they've been set up??
 

Kythe

Member
Techno phobia said:
But is there any way of completely disabling the scripts once they've been set up??
Well, you can use the group policy editor to remove the listings for the scripts, or you can kill the scripts once they start running. I think you could also set up the scripts to ask you whether or not to run certain things (or even all of the wiping) or simply close the script without doing anything, but offhand I don't recall exactly how to do this :)

The scripts are basically DOS scripts (for those of us old enough to remember writing such things).
 
Thanks... just a few more. :wink:

You mention killing the scripts, what is the easiest/ most effective way of doing this??

You also said that content you've deleted in the recycle bin is not deleted, is there any way of using eraser (or other software) to completely erase old content (you said just doing an unused disc space wipe won't work).

Where are pictures and music files stored (I mean once you've played in the past and pictures you've viewed on the web stored). Can you use eraser to get rid of these files.

I downloaded some software the other day which claimed to erase all history/ temp files. It found hundreds of history items, it then said you have to type in your name and user key (I don't have a user key) to register it. Firstly do you think you have to pay to remove it, and what is a user key??

I've used disc investigator and it says some files names have been erased and others haven't. I haven't run an unused disc space wipe for 2/3 weeks, could the files that have not got their names cleared be the ones I've simply deleted?

I asked earlier how often I should run eraser, you said as often as I like, but what I really ment was how often do I need to run eraser in order to maintaina good degree of privacy: every week, twice a week, one a month etc.

Finally is there any programs(free) available that can actually block temporary internet files, history etc. From entering your PC in the first place. Sorry, I know it's a bit of a daft question. :oops:
 

Kythe

Member
Techno phobia said:
Thanks... just a few more. :wink:

You mention killing the scripts, what is the easiest/ most effective way of doing this??
The simplest way is just to close the script window when it comes up -- in other words, when the black script window comes up on logoff/shutdown and starts displaying text that indicates it's running your script, just click on the "X" button (window close) in the upper right hand corner of the script window.

You also said that content you've deleted in the recycle bin is not deleted, is there any way of using eraser (or other software) to completely erase old content (you said just doing an unused disc space wipe won't work).
Well, if you've sent content to the recycle bin (as opposed to deleting it outright), you can wipe the content using Eraser by right-clicking on the recycle bin on the desktop and select "Erase Recycle Bin". Content that's sent to the recycled bin is not actually deleted -- it's simply relocated, so yeah, wiping unused disk space won't get it; the file space on disk isn't unused yet!

Where are pictures and music files stored (I mean once you've played in the past and pictures you've viewed on the web stored). Can you use eraser to get rid of these files.
I assume you're referring to pictures and music files that you see online? I think they're normally stored where other Internet Explorer/Firefox cache files are stored. However, some may be stored in your Profile's "Temp" directory (e.g. Y:\Documents and Settings\[MY PROFILE]\Local Settings\Temp). Spybot should catch both places in a normal "usage tracks" scan.

I downloaded some software the other day which claimed to erase all history/ temp files. It found hundreds of history items, it then said you have to type in your name and user key (I don't have a user key) to register it. Firstly do you think you have to pay to remove it, and what is a user key??
I don't know -- it would depend upon the software. It sounds like the software asks that you register before it does something about what it finds.

Generally speaking, I've found Spybot and the shutdown/logoff scripts I posted will take care of just about everything.

I've used disc investigator and it says some files names have been erased and others haven't. I haven't run an unused disc space wipe for 2/3 weeks, could the files that have not got their names cleared be the ones I've simply deleted?
That very well could be. In normal operation, Windows creates and deletes lots of temporary files (for example, when you use Microsoft Office, lots of temp files are normally created). So even if you wipe a file, there's no guarantee that older, temp versions of it are not still around.

And, of course, if you've simply deleted files (rather than wiped them) the remains of those files will still be on your system.

That's one reason why a periodic free space wipe is important.

I asked earlier how often I should run eraser, you said as often as I like, but what I really ment was how often do I need to run eraser in order to maintaina good degree of privacy: every week, twice a week, one a month etc.
It really depends upon what you feel comfortable with. The longer you go without running a free space wipe, the more deleted stuff accumulates on your system for someone to find (assuming a tech-savvy person decides to look for something on your computer).

Since I run a full free space wipe as part of my computer shutdown, this happens on my computer about once every other day.

Finally is there any programs(free) available that can actually block temporary internet files, history etc. From entering your PC in the first place. Sorry, I know it's a bit of a daft question. :oops:
It's not a daft question. I don't know of any such programs; however, you can prevent the saving of cache files by setting the size of your browser cache to zero and the length of your history to zero. In Firefox, you do this by going to TOOLS-OPTIONS, selecting "privacy", expanding "history" and setting "remember visited pages for the last ___ days" to "0"; also, expanding "cache" and setting "use up to: ___ kb" to "0".

In Internet Explorer, go to your "Internet Settings", select the first "General" tab, and set "Days to keep pages in history" to "0"; also, click the "settings" button on the right and move the slider on the next window all the way to the left (to set the size of the cache to "0").

Doing these things may decrease the performance of your web browsing, especially if you have a slow internet connection.
 
I haven't just left them in the recycle bin though, I have emptied it each time!! Does that make any difference??

About the scripts, I asked what is the easiest way to kill the scripts, I ment properly (as in disabling them).

Finally what is the policy editor, does it come with eraser or your system??

Thanks. :D
 

Kythe

Member
Techno phobia said:
I haven't just left them in the recycle bin though, I have emptied it each time!! Does that make any difference??
Yep. If you've emptied the recycle bin, the files are now officially "deleted", and you'll need to run an unused disk space (freespace) wipe with Eraser to get rid of the data.

About the scripts, I asked what is the easiest way to kill the scripts, I ment properly (as in disabling them).

Finally what is the policy editor, does it come with eraser or your system??
Ah. That I mentioned above: use the Group Policy editor in Windows XP Pro (doesn't come with Windows XP Home edition, unfortunately).

If you haven't run the Group Policy Editor in Windows XP Professional yet, you'll need to actually create a shortcut to it, or run it from the "start" button menu.

To run it, go to the "Start" button, select "Run", and type "gpedit.msc" and click "OK" in the dialogue box that comes up. Again, this only works in Windows XP Professional.

Be careful! If you're not familiar with how your system works, a lot can get screwed up in Group Policy Editor. If in doubt, do a Google search for "Group Policy Editor". There are some good tutorials out there.

For setting up the scripts, I'd recommend following the step-by-step instructions in this post:

How I use Eraser -- logoff and shutdown scripts

If you have questions, err on the side of caution and post the questions here!
 
Hello Again.

I've been over asking some more questions at another forum, anyway, I've come back feeling even more worried- I've no idea whether what they were saying was true or not - but thought I'd come to ask here just to confirm.

I was saying about how I try to run an unused disc space as regularly as possible, and then someone on the forum said that there's no way simply running an unused disc space wipe would get rid of deleted files- they said a basic user would be able to get the data back in instant using free recovery software. It was a proper computer forum, but I highly doubted what they were saying was true because of everything everyone has said on here. :? Will someone just confirm that what they were saying is untrue, so I don't have to worry. :shock:

The same person told me running spybot s&s won't delete data in the registry- is this true or not as well??

Finally, as I said a while ago my temp files won't delete. I've tried safemode and pocket killbox, neither work- is there anything more I can do to try to delete them. Would switching from administrator or user account maybe work??!

Thanks! :)
 

nodrick

New Member
It would be interesting if you could give us the name of this Forum,that seems to give such doubtful information. Eraser does "what it says on the tin!" -if the rest of us on here that try to give advice are convinced,why worry further? Also,both Spybot and Ad-Aware delete from the Registry as appropriate. As a regular Window Washer user,maybe you like to know that the following files,plus those from Internet usage,are deleted:

Clipboard Contents Windows stores data on the Clipboard when you use either the copy or cut function from any Windows program. This option deletes the content from the Clipboard that you copied or cut.
Windows Temp Folder These files are stored in your computer's default Windows temporary folder. This folder is usually C:\Windows\Temp (Windows 95, 98, and XP) or C:\WINNT\Temp (Windows NT and 2000). This option deletes all files and folders in the Windows temporary folder, but it will not delete any files that are in use by an open program. You should not put any files here that you need to keep. The files in this folder can take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
System Temp Folder These files are stored in your computer's default system temporary folder. This folder is usually C:\Windows\Temp (Windows 95 and 98), C:\WINNT\Temp (Windows NT), or C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\Local Settings\Temp (Windows XP and 2000). This option deletes all files and folders in the system temporary folder, but it will not delete any files that are in use by an open program. You should not put any files here that you need to keep. The files in this folder can take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
MS Download Temp Folder Microsoft stores temporary files for Windows updates and service packs in this folder (msdownld.tmp). Once you install the update or service pack, you no longer need these files. This option deletes that folder.
Temporary Windows Update Files Windows uses these files when you run Windows Update. After you install the updates, you no longer need these files. These files are normally in C:\WUTemp. This option deletes all files and folders in this folder, but it will not delete any files that are in use by an open program. You should not put any files here that you need to keep. The files in this folder can take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
Paging (Swap) Files (Applies only to Windows XP.) This option clears the paging file (also called a swap file) that Windows uses to store parts of programs and files that do not fit into memory.
Registry Streams This log displays information about recent changes you made to the Windows registry. This option does not delete the registry changes themselves. It only erases Windows' "memory" that you recently made the changes.
Default Logon User Names This Windows registry entry stores the last user name used to log on to your computer. This option deletes this registry entry, which means that you will have to enter your user name each time you turn on or restart your computer.
Memory Dump Files This option deletes the memory dump files (memory.dmp) that Windows creates when you receive certain Windows errors. The file contains information about what happened when the error occurred.
CD Burning Storage Folder (Applies only to Windows XP.) Windows creates these project files when you use the Windows built-in function to copy files to a CD. These project files are typically stored in C:\Documents and Settings\[user name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\CD Burning. This option deletes these project files.

I`m not an expert in exactly what goes on "under the hood" in Windows,but this seems a pretty comprehensive list to me.
Lastly,this was requested as"A Simple guide to deleting internet content with Eraser!!" It has been far from simple so far-I would take all the advice given,and quit worrying. Best wishes anyway!
 
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