CCleaner includes a Drive Wiper, allowing you to wipe the free areas of your hard drive to greatly reduce the chances of anyone being able to recover the data later.
When you delete a file, Windows removes the reference to that file, but doesn't delete the actual data that made up the file on your hard drive. This means that given the right software, someone could reconstruct all, or parts of files that you've deleted.
Note: Wiping free space can take a substantial amount of time.
WARNING: This feature is not intended to be used on solid-state drives. For more information, please click on this link: CCleaner and SSDs
How to use the Drive Wiper:
Method 1 - Automatically wipe when cleaning:
- In CCleaner, click the Custom Clean icon on the left.
- From the Windows tab, scroll to the Advanced group and select the Wipe Free Space check box.
- CCleaner displays a warning about extra time. Click OK.
- Run CCleaner as usual.
Note: You will need to specify settings for the feature to run correctly. To do this:
- Go to Options > Settings
- Under 'Wipe Free Space drives' confirm which drive(s) you wish to wipe.
- You can also confirm if you want CCleaner to Wipe MFT Free Space.
Method 2 - Manually wipe with Drive Wiper:
- Select Tools > Drive Wiper
- Choose the type of wipe you require:
- Free Space Only will leave your normal files intact.
- Entire Drive will erase all of the files on the drive. WARNING: this means the whole of the partition will be erased. The drive will still be formatted, but all data will be erased. For safety reasons, this feature is disabled for the boot drive.
- Choose the type of security you require (Simple Overwrite is sufficient for most situations)
- CCleaner will warn you before proceeding.
Wipe Free Disk Space limitations
CCleaner can't wipe every deleted file from your free disk space. There are some limitations, because of the way Windows stores some files. Here are some examples:
- The file has been overwritten by another file (so no need to overwrite this again)
- The file had been overwritten by another file before you ran CCleaner, but the second file has now been deleted as well.
- The file was created almost exactly when you ran CCleaner.