after some general advice and reccomendation


New Member
Hi there,

I am new to the forum and am after some general advice and reccomendation.

If I have files (word docs, excel sheets) stored on a USB key only, and I plug the key into a laptop or pc. I then work on the files, save them to the usb key, then remove the usb key – is there any trace whatsoever of that file left on the laptop or pc I was working on?

If that answer is a definite no, then fine and dandy. If it is yes, then can anyone recommend any software that could permanently remove any trace of the files – not to delete the software, just the files. I would be looking to run this daily.

I am in a shared office hot desk environment and don’t want to leave anything on the computers I will be working.

Many thanks IA
The short answer is that no traces of the data are left by any application I am aware of (apart possibly for the paging file, but that data is likely to be partial and will be very difficult to access). File names and paths may be left in log files; using CCleaner fairly often, and an Eraser free space erase occasionally would be a reasonable precaution in your circumstances. For both of these, your user account on the office machine would need to have administrative privileges.

The long answer is too long to write out in full. Its key point is that no one can know everything about every Windows installation, so any answer we give to your question has to be a bit provisional. But, unless your co-workers are particularly clever computer geeks, the chances that they would know about and be able to exploit some unusual vulnerability would, I guess, be rather small.

This could be potentially extreme, but what I do in such situations is being an OS on a USB key (Ubuntu is good) and boot up from it. Do my work there; don't even bother booting up to Windows.
Joel said:
This could be potentially extreme ...
Yes, routinely cutting oneself off from one's normal workflow would be regarded by most users as extreme ... :) Also, if the machine is in the care of an IT Department, running an unauthorised OS on it might be frowned upon.

I think that this is one of those cases where the OP needs to to his or her own risk assessment. The problem seems to be in sharing the system, and, without knowing the circumstances, it is difficult to know which of the several ways of getting round that problem is the right one. Or, as I hinted, it could just be that there is in practice no problem at all.

Well, I guess that I happen to be on the more paranoid side of the spectrum :D