Deleting Data in Virtual Containers


New Member
Is it safe enough to simply delete data which is stored in a TrueCrypt (or BestCrypt) container or would it be commendable to erase / wipe that data? The assumption is that nobody can gain access to the encrypted container. I always sought that if data in a container was simply deleted there were residual traces of that deleted data outside the container somewhere on the hard disk.
No, you should be fine. Someone can only recover files from an encrypted drive (or virtual file) if they have access to the password.

i.e. if someone gets access to your encryted file system, then they could potentially recover files from it.

There may be 'residual traces' outside of the encrypted file system (just like any files that you use) such as in your paging file etc, and there could be temporary files - e.g. if you unzip something and it uses your unencrypted Windows partition as a temp folder.
Therefore you'd need to try to zap these from the unencrpted partitions - but all data on your tc volume will be safe.

Also, from the Help File (using Eraser|When To Use It?|Special Cases):
"Encrypted Drives

In general, one should not erase the unused disk space on an encrypted drive (the same applies to encrypted virtual drives, such as the ones created by PGPDisk, ScramDisk or E4M).

The erasing will be useless because the data saved on the drive is encrypted into unreadable format, erasing may slow down your computer and it may even stop responding, depending on the driver that handles encryption.

Files on the encrypted drives can be overwritten, but this should be avoided because of the reasons mentioned above."

BigB: Thank you for the interesting response. Should have red the Eraser help file. Was my mistake. However, I forgot to add that my question mainly refers to external (portable) hard drives and to USB sticks. There, I am not sure whether it is enough just to delete files which are in an encrypted container. Specifically, the question is: Will there be residual traces left on the external hard disk or the USB drive? As they have got different characteristics I guess the response might be different. Thank you in advance for your response.