Internet addresses typed in your browser's address bar, Start menu history, recent documents, cookies, Recycle Bin…all of these record your activity on your computer. And it is impossible to manually erase all these tracks, especially if you are new to using the computer. There is always some little place in your computer that you've missed.
Besides the fact that these files will limit your privacy (as anyone with average computer knowledge knows where to look in order to find out what you have done) they are also occupying the free space on the PC. Developers have foreseen this problem and created the necessary tools to look in any nook of your computer for these cover blowing files.
Total Privacy is an instrument designed to clean the tracks of your Internet browser and system activities. Providing a good structure, the non-resizable interface is user friendly and scattered with hints about every option it includes. The menus run down on the left hand side of the application window and the options sheltered are displayed on the right.
The first menu shows the user details of the last use of the software (last profile used, file shredding method, number of files wiped, space recovered). Creating profiles and specifying the cleaning areas for each of them is available. Multiple profiles are supported and the flexibility of the application goes as far as scheduling each profile to run on different timetables.
Clean Options menu starts with an Overview tab that displays all the settings of the profile in use. The following tabs are the place where the user can make the actual settings and choose the areas to be cleaned. Windows tab covers Start Menu (Recycle Bin, document history, run history, start menu click history etc.), Windows System (clipboard contents, Windows temporary folder, system temporary folder, temporary Windows update files, paging file, registry streams etc.), Recent Activity (common dialog history, Media Player v.6/7 history list, as well as the last key accessed in Registry Editor).
A downside of the application is that in Windows tab there are included two options that may not be useful for every computer: MS Office and Outlook Express. I for one am not using any of the two applications and allowing me to add the similar applications (together with providing the folders that need to be cleaned) would have been much more convenient. But, as you will see later, with a little wit and imagination you can cover any program on your computer that is leaving a trace.
Browsers tab under Clean Options menu allows the user to select the browsers that need to be lightened up. Total Privacy has included a set of the most used Internet browsers among which there are IE, Netscape, Firefox and Opera.
When it comes
to erasing the cookies the user has the choice of selecting the items that are needed (we all know how nagging is getting rid of the cookies that store the data for logging into different accounts). The same is available for history of typed URLs, auto-complete forms or downloaded components. The number of the files detected by the application is displayed, as well as the space they are occupying.
Messaging tab contains only four IM applications that can be cleaned: MSN Messenger, AOL IM, ICQ and Yahoo! IM. The problem in adding your own IM software reoccurs, but if you are using one of the above mentioned then cleaning the chat log, cache, last username and password, received files folder and shared files is a snap. The application will automatically detect if AOL IM is installed on your machine, but with all the other IM applications it seems that they are displayed by default (of course, no option is active for the softwares that were not detected on your computer).
My favorite part is Custom tab. This option allows the user to remove the recent activity and the privacy items for all the other programs installed. All this is possible due to the Plug-In Editor Total Privacy is equipped with. It allows you to provide the path to the folders and files that need to be deleted as well as registry keys and values.
Deleting the files and folders from your computer the usual way does not mean that the actual data is removed, but only the name. That is why the files are still available for recovery with adequate softwares. Total Privacy however lets you wipe the free space on the volumes without altering the files that still have a name.
Using one of the ten secure deleting methods (single pass, triple pass, US Standard, US Navy (MFM and RLL), US Army, German Standard, Russian Standard, Peter Gutmann or Bruce Schneier) that ensure multipass overwriting of the free space, combined with renaming the files before the wipe takes place, will guarantee that deleted files are beyond recovery.
Total Privacy provides a set of options that can be used to configure the software. The program can load with Windows and be minimized to tray, detect if certain browsers are open during the cleaning process, select the data destruction algorithm or integrate Total Privacy with Windows.
The utilities that come with the application are also useful, as they can do a certain job fast without having to start a new cleaning process. Secure Shredder integrates perfectly with Windows shell and a context menu option for this function will be available at right clicking on any file or folder. A startup manager will allow you to select the processes to enable at startup and the password generator can create up to 30 passwords of 30 on the fly.The Good
Total Privacy succeeds in providing a good removal of the files and folders that record your actions on the computer. Combined with Wipe Free Space and Secure Shredder both of which support ten multipass deletion algorithms it will make the deleted data unrecoverable.
Profile scheduling and the utilities concert into making your computer as clean as possible. Selecting the browser items that you do not want to be wiped (cookies, some addresses in Internet address history) ensure preserving the data you constantly need to be at hand.The Bad
Including some softwares by default in Clean Options is not a pretty good idea. However, a smart user can play with the Plug-In Editor and add the location of the files that need to be cleaned as well as registry values and keys.The Truth
Total Privacy is one of the best secure cleaning softwares. It works fast and is highly flexible. If you take into consideration the price of only $30 and the options it offers, you may think of it as a bargain.Here are some snapshots of the application in action:Follow the editor on Twitter @ionut_ilascu