I have Windows 2008 R2 box on colocation. I want to remove certain files with a high degree guarantee it cannot be recovered from physical HDD access.

Could someone please explain what levels of security (NTFS-wise) can be achieved with different tools?

Please note I have RDP into this computer and plane IPMI - I can reboot it safely even if OS is frozen

Also a side note - by physicall access I mean that there are bunch of commercial labs who does fairly good job recovering data from damaged disks (even with damaged margnetic plates) - so I'd like this to be covered.. However I understand that technology available to such labs is not the same as say specialised government agencies (these I dont want to cover).

  • Does it use a classical HDD, or an SSD? Nov 20, 2012 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


All you need is a file shredder program, there are plenty of freeware ones. Chances are good you have one included with your AV software anyway. These tools over-write the disk sectors multiple times with different data patterns to completely erase their original pattern so that they cannot be recovered even with physical access.

  • 1
    You really don't even need multiple overwrites. Have a read of our blog post on this, and the linekd questions: security.blogoverflow.com/2012/02/…
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 20, 2012 at 14:23
  • As you say in the post it depends on the sensitivity of the data. It may be multiple passes are unnecessary, or it may be advisable, there's not enough information in the question to determine. In any case extra passes won't hurt.
    – GdD
    Nov 20, 2012 at 14:33
  • Thank you. could you please recommend a shredder with multiple-passes (the info is sensitive indeed otherwise I wont ask) Nov 20, 2012 at 14:37
  • All the shredders do it - even the free ones, Bobb. As GdD said, you probably have one in your AV software. If not, all the ones here will do: google.co.uk/search?q=file+shredder or if you want to attach the disk to a unix machine, it will have the shred command as part for GNU core utils.
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 20, 2012 at 14:43
  • 3
    What is this I don't even. But seriously, if it's high profile, it should have some form of AV on there, even if it's just Microsoft Security Essentials.
    – Polynomial
    Nov 20, 2012 at 14:54

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