Popular PC maintenance and system tune-up tools for Windows OS often come with an inbuilt utility to remove files completely from a PC. The utility asks the user to select a file/folder that he wants to securely erase without leaving any trace of data behind.
There are a lot of free file shredding tools available on the internet. Many of you may not have heard of OW Shredder. OW Shredder was first released in 2012 by Hendrik Schiffer.
The developer has been launching newer versions of this program since then. Because of improved features, OWS has now become a very good alternative to the eraser application and many more commercial programs out there. Below is a small review which explains the functions of this freeware.
OW Shredder is a portable application which ships in a small zip file. Get the file and extract it. Installation is not required. You can run the program from an external flash drive.
OW shredder’s UI makes it look like a yesteryear program. It’s difficult to identify the buttons on the interface and this is the major drawback of OW Shredder.
OW Shredder may not be a beautifully designed program, but its features are not disappointing.
OW Shredder file shredder has 3 main sections – control, tools and settings. The control section has the below options:
- File and folder eraser.
- Full drive eraser.
- Drive Trace remover.
You must double click on the options to activate and use them. When you do so, the program will open the file browser dialog box, with which you should locate or select the file, folder or the drive you want to securely erase.
Below these options, the user will find a drag and drop box, a check box to turn off the PC after shredding task completes and a button to abort the active task.
OW Shredder comes with 7 below useful tools which can be accessed from the tools section:
Disk Analyzer: This tool will display the volume of disk space occupied by pictures, videos, music files, documents, archives, system, emails, 3D images and executable files.
Cluster Analyzer: You can check how the disk clusters are being used with this tool. The analyzer has an option to select partitions.
Disk stats: With this utility, the user can get useful information of the disk partitions. Disk stats displays a pie chart which depicts the percentage of free and used space.
System Recovery: It’s a utility which has the option to create and delete system restore points.
Autostart manager: If you want to run the file shredder on a program which runs in the background, you’ll first have to disable the program’s auto-start entry. In such case, the OW Shredder’s Windows startup manager will be useful to you.
MFT trace eraser: This option allows the user to remove any file leftovers from the master file table.
File unlocker: A file may be locked by active windows applications or processes. If OW shredder is not able to delete a locked file, use this utility to unlock it.
In the settings section, OW Shredder allows you to change the default red/black theme and the file shredding algorithm. The program supports the below 5 algorithms:
- British HMG baseline.
- GOST R 50739-05
- HSC 1614.65
- RCMP TSSIT OPS-II
- Custom (user must generate a random pattern of 0s and 1s).
The program displays the number of iterations and a pattern of bits which will replace the data. It will also display the restoration chances of the data in percentage format (if someone attempts to restore data).
In the settings panel, you can enable event logging in a file, change the default language and activate desktop integration feature.
Conclusion: Although its UI is not the best or attractive, the functions of OW Shredder are useful. Wiping hard drive and securely erasing files is not an easy thing to do. This freeware accomplishes these two complex tasks with ease.