There is no need to stress the fact that simply deleting your files does not render them unrecoverable. Data Shredder from ProtectStar has been designed as a versatile solution for ensuring that your data is safely deleted, beyond recovery.
There are several editions for the application, designed to cover various needs, available for different prices. Most of them are for Windows, but there is one version available for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, very useful if you want to sell your device without offering the buyer the possibility to recover sensitive information.
The main difference between the Windows versions of the application are the shredding algorithms they bring to the table, with Standard coming preinstalled with the smallest number of erasing methods, six. As you go up the price ladder, the amount of shredding options increases up to 16. You can view a comparison chart on this page
Our tests focused on the Professional edition of the application ($39.90/€30 - price dropped since our previous review
), which brings to the table 11 shredding algorithms, missing only the enhanced military deletion methods. Although lacking a few shredding options, the ones available are more than suited for the home user.
Looks and handling have changed for the better, compared to our previous review of the application. All options are in front of you at all times, while completing an action is still guided by a wizard.
As file shredding is the main purpose of the program, Data Shredder is equipped with 11 destruction algorithms, ranging from simple overwriting with random values to running 50 passes. Several known standards are available, such as Gutmann
(35 cycles), DoD 5220.22
(7 cycles) or the German VSITR
(5 cycles). Some of them are specially designed for SSD disks.
You can use Data Shredder on any item stored on your hard disk, but it can also target temporary files gathered by the operating system or data resulting from your browsing sessions.
Additional functionality is available in the program through options such as sanitizing free space, cleaning entire partitions and moving data from one location to another in a secure manner.
It supports all popular browsers on the market (Internet Explorer
, Mozilla Firefox
, Google Chrome
) and allows you to erase securely details such as cookies, cache, history, bookmarks and even passwords and form data.
We encountered some quirks as far as deleting Internet data is concerned. With Internet Explorer we noticed that cookies were still available after running the cleaning routine.
However, most of the trouble was with Mozilla Firefox, in which case erasing the cookies also deleted the current session. Furthermore, including the cache, bookmarks, history and form data and passwords caused a reset of the browser to the default configuration.
On the other hand, this should not cause too much of a dent in the functionality of the application since you can clear browsing data from the web browser itself. Also, the developer is aware of the issue and is trying to correct it.
Data Shredder does not bring to the table a complex configuration panel, as setting it up involves simple options, such as choosing the default erase algorithm, localization, format of the job report (HTML or Microsoft Word), folder for saving the log and proxy settings.
There is also the possibility to protect the settings area with a custom password, as well as the choice to export the configuration file. In addition, the default shredding algorithm can be locked so that it cannot be changed before running a job.
Sanitization methods available range from fast and less reliable ones like overwriting with random values one time, to more complicated such as DoD 5220.22-M ECE (7 passes), German BSI/VS-ITR (8 passes), Gutmann method (35 passes) or the proprietary algorithm, which runs 50 overwrites
Needless to point out that the amount of time necessary to carry out a job is proportional with the number of passes an algorithm has to run. Obviously, more overwrites slim down chances of file recovery.
Even if Data Shredder Professional does not come with the complete set of sanitization methods ProtectStar can offer, the options available should be more than enough for the average user.
The shredding capabilities in the application do not stumble when facing files that are currently in use. Data Shredder can deal with them at the next reboot of the computer. However, the process can be aborted, but only on 32-bit hardware, so you should be extra careful with this one and make sure that you really want the selected data destroyed. The Good
Although looks and ease of use are the first things you notice in the application, data sanitization algorithms included are the most important part. These allow you to safely move data from one place to another, ensure that deleted files cannot be recovered from free space or that temporary data is efficiently eliminated.The Bad
Among the quirks we encountered, the most serious caused Firefox to reset to its default configuration when trying to delete the browsing data it accumulated. Also, at the moment, on 64-bit hardware there is no possibility to stop procedure for data scheduled to be erased at boot time.
Currently, there is no drag and drop support, which makes adding files and folders a tad cumbersome in some cases, especially in the case of directories, which have to be added individually.The Truth
Every option in Data Shredder Professional
revolves around the secure erase algorithms available. And the palette of options in this sense is remarkable and fit for a home user in need to make data unrecoverable before getting rid of a storage device.
You can choose jobs that run a smaller number of overwrites and complete very quickly or methods that take longer to carry out the job, albeit the result is extremely reliable.
GIVEAWAY NOTE: We have 50 licenses to give away for ProtectStar Data Shredder Professional. In order to get one, all you need to do is drop a smart line in the comments section below. The best 50 comments will be awarded a serial number for the application.Winners for this campaign:
The rest of the winners declined the license by failing to confirm their email address in due time.