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Secure Deletion, Erasing Free Space & Temporary Files in Windows

Using a utility called BCWipe, you can securely empty your Recycle Bin, delete files, and erase free space on the hard drive of your Windows machine.  You can also use BCWipe to securely erase Windows temporary files & web browser cache.  BCWipe is not free software, but does offer a one week evaluation period.  Note this is for a Windows-only encryption, to do a cross-platform encryption, click here.

Warning! The following methods will PERMANENTLY delete the files in the Recycle Bin and other files previously erased.  CIS will NOT be able to recover them afterwards!

BCWipe Installation

BCWipe can be downloaded via this website. Double-click the installation file, and follow the prompts to install BCWipe in the default location.  A restart will be required.

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Securely Emptying the Recycle Bin

Note: While BCWipe is wiping the files or free space on your computer, you should refrain from doing other work.  The program works best when it runs uninterrupted.

To securely delete the files in your Recycling Bin, simply right-click on the Recycling Bin and select Wipe Recycle Bin.  A dialogue box will pop up, asking if you are sure you want to permanently delete the files in the Recycle Bin.  Click Yes to All to continue securely deleting the files.

If you would like to securely delete an individual file or folder, you can right click on this file or folder and select Delete with wiping from the menu that appears.  You'll be presented with a confirmation dialogue before the file or folder is permanently deleted.

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Securely Erasing Free Space

Open up My Computer (in Vista go to the The start menu looks like this in Vista.(Start) menu and select Computer.  Right-click on the C: (or any other hard drive you wish), and select Wipe free space with BCWipe.  If your Recycle Bin is not empty, you'll be asked if you want to securely empty it while the rest of the free space is being wiped.  Click Empty to empty your Recycle Bin, or click Continue to leave your Recycle Bin full while the free space is being wiped.

The Wipe drive free space window is now open.  Here you'll select the method you'd like to use to erase the free space on your drive.  Different methods will take different amounts of time, ranging from brief (about an hour for 30 gigs of free space) to lengthy (about 32 hours for 30 gigs of free space).  Click OK to begin wiping the drive's free space.

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Securely Erasing Temporary Files

From the Start menu, navigate to All Programs -> BCWipe 3.0 -> BCWipe Task Manager.  From the Task Manager window, choose Create new task from the Task menu, then select Wipe Special folders contents.

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The Wipe task properties window opens up.  Here you can select which Special Folders you'd like to permanently delete.  Be careful not to Select All, as your Bookmarks (called Favorites) are included as an option for permanent removal!

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Clicking the OK button will set up a task that will run every time you start your computer.  If you'd like to change the frequency of the task, click on the Schedule tab  of the properties window.

 If you have questions about secure deletion or erasing free space in Windows, please contact Computer User Services.

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