When you want to permanently delete some of your files, you have to use tools that can shred them or securely erase them. These tools overwrite the data inside the files with random characters before deleting them so that recovering the files becomes impossible.
We have covered many file shredding tools on this website before such as Koro Shredder, Secure Eraser, Elefant Files Terminator, File Shredder, DPShredder, Alternate File Shredder, NoVirusThanks File Shredder, OW Shredder, Permadelete and many more.
But what if you do not want to use any of these tools and want to securely erase the files yourself. For this, you can use a popular hex editor called XVI32 in this manner:
- Download XVI32 hex editor from http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/delphi/freeware/xvi32/xvi32.htm.
- Launch XVI32 hex editor, click on the file open button in the toolbar and open the target file that you want to securely overwrite and erase.
- Once the file has been loaded in XVI32, select Tools → Shredder data from the menubar.
- It will confirm by asking – “Overwrite all bytes with binary zeroes?”, for which you have to choose Yes. It will instantly fill the opened file with zeroes.
- Click on the save button in the toolbar to save that file. After this step, the file data has gone forever.
- Close XVI32 window. Select that file in Windows File Explorer, press Shift + Delete. This will result in deleting that file from the system bypassing the Recycle Bin.
You can repeat the procedure for any of the files that you want to securely overwrite and delete. You do not have to use any of the special tools for securely erasing files. However, this method lacks removal of the file from the MFT (master file table) of NTFS file system. Some of the secure erasing tools can remove the filename from the MFT.