I partially wiped my hard drive using the null-fill method through command prompt by
copying a 1 Gigabyte file filled with NULL over and over until I ran out of space.

After that I tried recovering files and what do you know, I got back the references and names.
I look through the data of those files using a HEX editor and surely the null-fill method did its
job very well, the problem is the filenames are still there.

I have some torrent references to pirated software and would want to destroy those references
without actually wiping the entire drive, as I do have important documents on there and no other
media to temporary move it to.


  • I'm assuming the method you used looked at the file table? You need a process to remove the references in the file table
    – schroeder
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 13:00
  • So you are considering the threat of "having references to pirated software" to be more serious than the threat of "having no backups of important documents"? For now, I would just forget about those harmless references to pirated stuff. Later on, when you have reliable backups of your important documents, just overwrite the entire HDD if you feel you need to.
    – reed
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 13:36
  • a normal format should mess up the "FAT" on an SSD. you can spam entries as well, just like you did storage bytes; create millions of blank files.
    – dandavis
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 17:49
  • In linux you can use the command shred that will overwrite your files with zeros or random data.
    – camp0
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


I'm assuming you are using Windows and NTFS?

The problem with wiping file names is that the Master File Table (MFT) is never deallocated, so writing fill data to unallocated space only effects a single MFT entry for each file regardless of the file size. Writing a gazillion tiny files will have a bigger effect on the MFT, but even then it's semi-random.

It would be possible to over-write available unused MFT entries with a custom program, but not from within the running Windows OS, it won't let you. I'm not aware of an existing utility to do this, but it shouldn't be that difficult for an experienced programmer.

For most mere mortals, the easiest thing to do is to encrypt your drive. The data is not destroyed but it's effectively out of reach.

I've seen some claims that Eraser can clean MFT entries, but have not personally verified that.

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