East-tec Eraser 2014 review full review
You don't have to be working for the NSA to want to clean data from the storage devices on your PC. There are plenty of businesses where you might hold at least 'company confidential' information on a hard drive or USB stick. See all software reviews.
East-tec Eraser 2014 is a dedicated file and history shredder for Windows, which aims to remove all traces of selected files from your computer. Ideal for everything from cleaning your browsing history at work, to wiping a drive before selling a computer second-hand.
When you delete a file in Windows, no matter which version, the data isn't wiped from its place on the drive. Instead, the markers which tell the filing system where the sections of the file start and end are deleted from a look-up table, so the file can no longer found easily. The data on the disk is then only overwritten when space gets tight and another file is stored on the same parts of the drive.
East-tec Eraser 2014 is more thorough. It writes data, which might be ones, zeroes or random strings, to all the locations on the drive where the file was stored. It may do this once, or it may write zeroes, then ones, then zeroes in up to seven passes, to ensure there are fewer magnetic 'traces' of the original file remaining.
The program has a no-nonsense interface, offering six modules.
Dashboard shows status and messages, Privacy Guard automatically cleans your system of unwanted clutter, and Erase Files & Folders securely wipes those you select.
Further down, Erase Deleted Data wipes the disk space of files that have previously been deleted by Windows standard recycling system, Media Wiper deals with removable drives and Scheduler enables automation of cleaning duties.
The speed of a wipe is inversely proportional to security level. The software offers a variety of algorithms which use from one to seven passes. They work up from a single-pass 'normal' wipe with no verification, through three-pass NAVSO, Russian GOST or US Department of Defence wipes, to German VISTR, DoD Enhanced and 3+7+3 beyond DoD which makes seven passes.
We wiped 10 MB of files from a USB drive, using the default three-pass DoD algorithm, which took just over 53 minutes. If you're deleting a whole hard drive of hundreds of gigabytes, it's going to take a while and you'll probably need to leave the program running overnight.
We tried to resurrect the wiped files with several data recovery applications, but none of the programs could find any sign of them. This is what we expected, although we were using consumer data recovery software. You're probably safe from all but the forensic skills of Abby Sciuto (NCIS).
Shredding files isn't the only thing East-tec Eraser 2014 is capable of, though. It's also a versatile browser cleaner. It can delete your web browsing history from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari, among others.
Although Windows can also tidy this up on its own, this program is both more thorough and more flexible and you can select which elements you want to wipe.
The ability to delete history and traces extends to individual applications, too. There's support for wiping the specific traces of programs like iTunes, Skype and Dropbox, several email clients and more general applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and anti-virus suites including AVG, Kaspersky and Norton.
East-tec Eraser 2014 review: Specs
- Windows XP/Vista/7/8
- 300 MHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
- 512 MB RAM
- 50 MB drive space
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide