Review By Jason Kobold
Your Computer Is Tracking Your Every Move
Did you know that the Windows operating system keeps track of EVERY program that you open and close on your computer? Or that information about EVERY website you visit online is stored on your computer? Or how about the fact that every image you have viewed, received or sent to somebody else is kept on your hard drive and is very easy to retrieve?
These are just a few things that can lead to your privacy been compromised and information you may want to protect been made public.
This Sensitive Data Can Be Used Against You
Sensitive data that gets in the wrong hands can be used against you, e.g. somebody could steal your identity and scam thousands of dollars from your bank accounts or buy expensive items on your credit cards. These aren’t just urban myths, stories such as this appear in the newspaper everyday. You may think these stories only happen to other people. I used to feel the same way…until it happened to me.
I had my identity stolen last March but it wasn’t until six weeks later that I became aware that somebody else was using my bank account and by then it was too late. After much stress and anguish I managed to put a stop to it but it took a big toll on me and my life.
Now I’m much more cautious about my privacy and go to greater lengths to protect it. One of the best things I did was invest in a data erasing program.
The ‘Empty Recycle Bin’ Option In Windows Doesn’t Work
Did you know that just using the ‘Delete’ or “Empty Recycle Bin’ options in Windows don’t really work? Even though you think the data has been erased it can very easily be recovered by somebody who knows what they are doing or if a data recovery program is used. That is why a good data erasing program that literally shreds the data on your computer is a must. the one I used is called Winclear.
WinClear Installation & Features
WinClear is very easy to use. Once you have installed the program you are presented with a simple, easy to use interface with a few options. The options are; ‘Start Scan’. ‘Choose Items’ and ‘Options’. Clicking on start scan prompts Winclear to do a comprehensive scan of your hardrives. The program breaks down this scan in to four different areas; Windows General, Internet History, Chat History and Software.
The Windows General section is for items that are saved in your operating system that you have viewed recently which would include any picture, document, movies etc that you may have looked at. Internet History contains all items that involve your web browsing habits. These include any websites you have been to, pictures you have viewed and any music you may have downloaded among other things. Chat History scan your chat logs. Programs such as AOL Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and many others will log your conversations. Finally, Software scan area such as recently opened Office documents or recently played WinAmp Files.
Winclear scan times are very quick and within a few minutes you will have a summary of how many potential issues have been found in each of the four areas it scans. You can get more details on each of the files found in each area including their location of your computer and the actual file name. You now remove all the items found and Winclear makes it very easy, just one click on the remove option and all the files are shredded and can’t be recovered by anybody.
Another benefit of using a program such as Winclear is that it will free up much needed space on your computer when erasing files and improve your system performance to boot.
If you want to take your Winclear scans a step further then you can manually choose which areas of your computer the program should scan. Again, this is broken down in to the four sections mentioned above but then is subdidvided even further so you can pick specific areas to scan for problems.
WinClear Advanced Options
Finally in Winclear you have a few more advanced options to choose from. You can tell the program how to go about shredding the data it finds. You can do 1 pass for quick and easy shredding but run the risk of somebody been able to recover the data, or pick DOD 5220 which will do 3 passes over the data it finds and shred it 3 times making it much harder to recover. The NSA shred option does 7 passes over the data to make it very, very tough for anybody to recover anything of significance. Finally you can pick the Gutmann option which will prompt the WinClear to go over the data 35 times. The Gutmann method was created by Pete Gutmann and Colin Plumb in 1996 and is one of the most sophisticated data eraser methods available.
The last 2 options are you can make WinClear open when you first start you computer and have it check for updates.
WinClear Help And Support
WinClear comes with a comprehensive help file should you can stuck or need more help with the program. They also have customer support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a weeks to answer any questions you may have.
I have found WinClear to be of great help in protecting my privacy. It’s simple to use with its one click scan and remove functions but if you want to get more advanced and choose what to scan and what method to use to erase any data you would like to protect you can. I wish I had been using this program before my identity was stolen becuase I think it would have certainly helped protect it.
Ease Of Use: 5.7/6
Overall Rating: 5.7