So ends yet another year and a decade, all in one day. Ah, the memories. That’s why we have computers in the first place, right?
To improve our memories by storing valuable pieces of information; from photos to movies to music to financial information, our Macs keep it all in memory. What about when you need to totally delete and destroy very important, sensitive, valuable information that you don’t want anyone else to get?
It’s easy. Empty trash, right? Wrong.
Empty Trash Does Not Delete
Here’s a little known and less understood fact of using a Mac (or a Windows PC). Emptying the trash (or the stupid recycle bin) doesn’t really delete files.
What? Can that be true? Mac and PC hard drives work in a similar manner. We store files and the computer remembers the file and where it’s stored.
Emptying the trash, deleting the file, simply tells your Mac to forget where the file is located on your hard drive. It doesn’t actually delete the file.
Whoa! Isn’t that some kind of security hazard, a security disaster waiting to happen? Well, yes. All it takes is any one of many utilities to look on your Mac’s hard drive, find the location, and bring the deleted file back to the future again.
But Apple loves us, right? So Mac OS X has a nifty built-in utility called Secure Empty Trash. Click on Finder, select the Finder menu, select Secure Empty Trash.
See how easy that was? No problemo, right? Not so fast. Secure Empty Trash merely overwrites the data seven times, according to some U.S. Department of Defense standard. And we all know how good those guys are at protecting data.
A Really, Really Permanent Eraser
If you’re really paranoid about deleting the data on your Mac, and your whole world would collapse and you’d have to go into a Witness Protection Program of some sort if anyone ever found those secret files, then you need Permanent Eraser.
First, it really, really scrambles the data you’re trying to erase. Not seven times. Not 20 times. But 35 times.
The data you’re trying to delete gets so scrambled that not even Mr. Spock or All The Kings Horses or All The Kings Men could put those Humpty Dumpty files back together again.
Second, Permanent Eraser is drop dead simple to use and does much more than just empty whatever Mac files you moved to the Trash. Double click and you get a dialog box which asks if you really, really want to erase those files. Click and you’re done.
Permanent Eraser also erases CD-RWs and DVD-RWs on your Mac. Just insert the disc, drag and drop it over the Permanent Eraser icon, and you’re a click away from really, really erasing data on external media.
Individual files can be erased the same way with drag and drop and bypasses the Trash step. Drag the Permanent Erase icon to your Finder’s toolbar (saves Dock space), and you’re a drag and drop or a click from erasing anything on your Mac.
What is it they say? Only the paranoid survive? Maybe so. But paranoia’s the right attitude to have when everyone’s out to get you. If you store valuable information on your Mac, then it’s available to someone else, too.
When you sell or giveaway your old Mac, remember to permanently erase the really valuable data you’ve been storing. Permanent Eraser is free and easy to use.