Hard Drive Clean Up

Did you know that Windows stores unneeded traces of your personal information, including passwords, credit card numbers, and previously deleted data, e-mail and more, all without you even knowing it? Protect yourself with these hard drive clean up tips.

Because Windows and other applications often leave snippets of your Internet activities out in the open, your computer makes you vulnerable to identity theft. Identity theft has become the fastest growing crime in America and can no longer be overlooked. CBS News reported that every 79 seconds a thief hacks into a computer, steals a victim's identity, and then goes on a buying spree.

WipeDrive makes hard drive erasure easy and helps prevent identity theft. These 10 tips will help you clean up your hard drive and improve system performance. Some can be performed manually, however, for security and convenience, we recommend using a hard drive clean up tool like SecureClean.

10 Hard Drive Clean Up Tips

Tip #1: Clean Your Browsing History

Your browser logs every site you have visited. This log can be accessed by websites you visit and by anyone using your computer. To keep your internet surfing private, it is good practice to clean up hard drive data such as your browsing history.

Tip #2: Remove Temporary Internet Files

Your computer contains many temporary web page files. This information can take up a great deal of unnecessary disk space on your computer. If you clean up hard drive accumulation of temporary internet files you may be surprised how much space you reclaim.

Tip #3: Delete Adware and Cookies

Adware and cookie files can be used to spy on your web surfing. Many companies use them to log your surfing patterns and obtain personal information about you. These files can also contain personal information about secure login sites. Protect your privacy and clean up hard drive data that may contain your personal information and surfing preferences.

Tip #4: Clean Up Other Sensitive Internet Data

Many programs store passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. This information is available to any program on your computer including viruses, spyware, Trojan Horses, and worms. If you have ever done online banking or shopping you may be at risk. Remove these files permanently by using a hard drive clean up utility.

Tip #5: Remove Temporary Files

Programs often make use of temporary files when performing program functions. These programs often do not clean up these files after the task has been performed, leaving old files that are no longer in use. As a result, temporary files and deleted data can be left lying around on your hard drive, accessible to anyone with the right knowledge or tools.

Tip #6: Erase Autosave Documents

Autosave backup files are automatically generated by some applications. Microsoft Word, Excel and many other programs create autosave files in order to recover files in case of a crash. Often these files begin with a tilde (~) as the first letter and are exact duplicates of your saved data. Clean up hard drive files such as these which may have been saved without your knowledge.

Tip #7: Clear Windows Explorer Search Terms

Windows stores your search terms. A record of search terms is readily available in a drop down menu the next time you perform a search. A simple but important hard drive clean up procedure is to remove these search terms.

Tip #8: Clean Up Swap Files

Swap files inadvertently contain sensitive data. In order to run multiple programs at the same time with a limited amount of physical memory, Windows creates a temporary file called a swap file. Windows swaps an application's data to and from the swap file based on how much memory is used.

It is important to clean up hard drive swap files because since the swap file contains application data, it can contain information such as passwords, pieces of documents, email -basically anything in your memory. Swap files are not destroyed when the computer shuts down so this data is left in the drive's free space. Clean up hard drive data such as swap files and don't risk having sensitive data inadvertently stored on your computer.

Tip #9: Remove File Slack

Gaps between files contain old data. Because only one file can be stored in a cluster, file slack is the space between the end of a file and the end of the last cluster holding the file. This extra space contains whatever file information that cluster previously contained and can be read by anyone with access to your disk. Clean up hard drive data left behind because of file slack.

Tip #10: Permanently Erase Drive At End-Of-Life

Pressing the Delete key will not erase a file permanently. Whenever you delete a file, Windows copies that file to the Recycle Bin. When a file is deleted or emptied out of the Recycle Bin, only the file record marker is erased, not the contents of the file. The free space on your drive contains both completely recoverable deleted files and deleted file fragments.

As a result, deleted files can easily be recovered unless permanently erased and overwritten by a hard drive erasure program such as WipeDrive. Clean up hard drive files you thought were erased forever or you may be at risk.

Summary: Hard Drive Clean Up

Permanently removing sensitive data requires advanced hard drive clean up software. That's why major Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and IT professionals all over the world use SecureClean to clean up hard drive data.