Using CCleaner's Drive Wiper

Drive Wiper cleans free areas of your hard drive to help stop deleted data from getting recovered. This page explains more about this CCleaner tool and two ways you can use Drive Wiper, including how to wipe your drive automatically during cleaning in Custom Clean > Windows and how to do a manual wipe via Tools > Drive Wiper.

To skip to the specific instructions, go to How to use Drive Wiper further below.

How Drive Wiper protects your privacy and security:

If you delete a file, it doesn't completely disappear because the data that makes up this file stays on your hard drive. Given the right know-how, a cybercriminal could reconstruct deleted files (or parts of them). Drive Wiper lets you delete the remaining traces of deleted files. 

Note: Wiping free space can take a substantial amount of time, and we don't recommend doing it if you have a solid-state drive (SSD).

Find out more about CCleaner and SSDs.

How to use the Drive Wiper:

Method 1 - Automatically wipe when cleaning:

  1. In CCleaner, click the Custom Clean icon on the left.
  2. In the Windows tab, scroll to the Advanced category (shown with an ! icon) and select the Wipe Free Space checkbox.
  3. CCleaner displays a warning about extra time. Click OK.
  4. Run CCleaner as usual.

Note: You need to specify settings for the feature to run correctly. To do this:

  1. Go to Options > Settings
  2. Under Wipe Free Space drives, confirm which drive(s) you wish to wipe.
  3. You can also confirm if you want CCleaner to Wipe MFT Free Space



Method 2 - Manually wipe with Drive Wiper:

  1. Select Tools > Drive Wiper
  2. Choose the type of wipe you require:
    1. Free Space Only leaves your normal files intact.
    2. Entire Drive erases all of the files on the drive. IMPORTANT: this means the whole of the partition gets erased. The drive stays formatted, but all data gets erased. For safety reasons, we disable this feature for the boot drive, which allows your PC to start up.
  3. Choose the type of security you need (Simple Overwrite works for most situations).
  4. CCleaner warns you before proceeding. You will need to type in "ERASE" as a confirmation that you do indeed want to erase all data on the selected drive(s).


The limits of wiping free disk space:

CCleaner can't wipe every deleted file from your free disk space. There are some limitations because of the way Windows stores specific files. 

Here are some examples:

  • The file is already overwritten by another file (so no need to overwrite this again)
  • Before you decided to use CCleaner, the file was overwritten by another file (the second file got deleted)
  • The file was created at the same time you chose to run CCleaner

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