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Reverse Data Recovery - DELETE deleted files permanently


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billybobaloo's Avatar
billybobaloo billybobaloo is offline
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16-Jan-2007, 09:32 PM #1
Reverse Data Recovery - DELETE deleted files permanently
I don't know if this question has ever been asked.

I want to know if anyone knows of a piece of software or a way to clean deleted file entries from directories permanently.

I'm asking because I have downloaded a few freeware and shareware programs and tested them for recovering deleted files. I did get one of them to work and recover the deleted files but the problem is it takes so long to scan the drive and it displays so many results it takes forever to search through them for the files I actually want to recover. So what I want to do is run some software that will clear all deleted file entries from my directory listings permanently (zero them out or something.) This way the next time I have to recover a deleted file the list will be much shorter after scanning the drive.

I have Windows XP Pro installed and have 2 physical drives with a total of 3 partitions. The first drive is formatted with 2 NTFS partitions and the 2nd drive is formatted with 1 FAT32 partition (moved this drive with a lot of data from another PC and don't want to bother reformatting to NTFS.)

Anyways the last time I scanned the E drive (FAT32 - 80GB) it took about ten minutes to scan the drive for recoverable files and listed som 50,000 - 60,000 files that could be possibly be recovered. Even using filters to limit the list I came up with 27,000 JPG files (as I was trying to recover about a dozen JPGs I accidentally deleted.) I was able to find them without an incredible amount of difficulty but had to recover several extra files to be sure.

If there was a program that would clean your directories when you want it to so that the file list would be empty then the next time you accidentally deleted something the list would be very short and simple to search.

I have used a piece of software that zeroes free space but this does not zero out the old directory entries only the free space on the drive.

Does anyone know of a piece of software or any other way to do this?

Thanks
billybobaloo
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16-Jan-2007, 09:36 PM #2
There's no software that can distinguish between needed directories, files, and registry entries and unneeded ones. There are several "clean-up" utilities, but they carry huge risks. Running them could very quickly destroy your system.

Uninstalling programs using either Add/Remove Programs or the program's built-in removal utility will remove nearly everything. Some programs are not written as well and will leave things behind. There is a serious danger in trying to clean this up yourself especially if you do not know the files or directories that the program created or installed.
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17-Jan-2007, 09:16 AM #3
There are tons of privacy applications, both free and pay, that will clear ALL the unused space, aka Deleted File data.

Eraser is a free one that will wipe deleted space. Acronis Privacy Expert is one that you can pay for.

Doing exactly what you're describing would be basically impossible for a software utility without help.
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20-Jan-2007, 06:55 PM #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWill
There are tons of privacy applications, both free and pay, that will clear ALL the unused space, aka Deleted File data.

Eraser is a free one that will wipe deleted space. Acronis Privacy Expert is one that you can pay for.

Doing exactly what you're describing would be basically impossible for a software utility without help.

Thanks for the response but wiping free space doesn't help.

I have used a program that wipes free space and makes the deleted files unrecoverable. I just want to wipe the directory space free of reference to these files as well. I used Apple IIs for a very long time in the 80s and 90s and I knew exactly how the ProDOS directory structure was formatted and could do this with no problem.

On the Apple IIs when you deleted a file it simply changed one byte in the directory entry pointing to the file. So to undelete the file you could simply change that byte to recover the deleted file. But, to make it appear as if the file NEVER existed you could zero out the rest of the bytes which contained the filename, creation date, modification date, starting sector pointer, etc...

That is essentially what I want to do. I want to zero out this information in the directory listing, but have no idea how to do so or if anyone has written a program to do so.

I might be the first person who has wanted something like this so it may not exist.
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20-Jan-2007, 08:01 PM #5
All of that info is deleted when the software is used.
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22-Jan-2007, 10:44 AM #6
I downloaded the most current version of Eraser and it did the trick.

I had a much older version of this in the past and I don't recall if it erased the directory data or not but the current version does and that is just what I was looking for. The funny thing is I used a different program to erase the free disk space and that program did not have this option. Obviously not all programs are created equal.

Thanks for all the replies and problem solved.
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24-Jan-2007, 03:19 AM #7
Hey , im here to reply
there is a program called directory snoop , it will let you purge deleted files from your FAT / NTFS file system. i just thought i would let you know so you could get rid of the ghost entries.
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psyber1986 psyber1986 is offline
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24-Jan-2007, 03:19 AM #8
Hey , im here to reply
there is a program called directory snoop , it will let you purge deleted files from your FAT / NTFS file system. i just thought i would let you know so you could get rid of the ghost entries. you can buy it at http://www.briggsoft.com
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24-Jan-2007, 02:42 PM #9
hmm, let me see...are you trying to completely rid your computer of the files? As if you NEVER had them to begin with? Because im pretty sure (not positive) that thats not possible... I know there are plenty of tools and programs to corrupt a file beyond recovery... making the file unusable, but i have yet to hear of one that completely cleans it off the system in its entirety.
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24-Jan-2007, 02:46 PM #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3drock3t88
hmm, let me see...are you trying to completely rid your computer of the files? As if you NEVER had them to begin with? Because im pretty sure (not positive) that thats not possible... I know there are plenty of tools and programs to corrupt a file beyond recovery... making the file unusable, but i have yet to hear of one that completely cleans it off the system in its entirety.
You need to get out more. There are plenty of utilities to clean ALL the free space on the drive to DOD standards, that's as gone as you need the file to be.
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r3drock3t88 r3drock3t88 is offline
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24-Jan-2007, 03:02 PM #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWill
You need to get out more. There are plenty of utilities to clean ALL the free space on the drive to DOD standards, that's as gone as you need the file to be.
hahaha, I wont lie, Once and awhile I do need to get out

So your saying the program will remove it COMPLETEY, not even a single little trace left over? Because thats what im wondering... I've never heard of one but then again I can't know it all ... thanks for lettin me know though, good day!
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24-Jan-2007, 03:19 PM #12
I'm guessing you didn't bother to actually look at the two links I provided in message #3. Try reading the descriptions, what part of that is unclear?
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24-Jan-2007, 06:56 PM #13
lol, i read them, and understood them...im not here to get in an arguement over something like this, i just dont see how it can delete the data then overwrite it, and there is absolutely no trace of anything. Will that program completely wipe it away as if nothing EVER got put in that location in memory? or will it just replace that location with something else... no need to get all defensive and what not over something so small lol
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24-Jan-2007, 07:17 PM #14
Don't get up John, I'll help.

I guess the "read" was a speed read!

On the Eraser site, it states
"The patterns used for overwriting are based on Peter Gutmann's paper "Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory" and they are selected to effectively remove magnetic remnants from the hard drive."

and

"Other methods include the one defined in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual of the US Department of Defence and overwriting with pseudorandom data. You can also define your own overwriting methods."

There seems to be more than enough explanation there as to what is happening.

And,btw it's disk that is being wiped not memory.
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24-Jan-2007, 08:40 PM #15
Defensive? Right.
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