east-tec Eraser 2014 Review

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Deletes files and folders beyond recovery
  • (6 more, see all...)

east-tec has recently released the 2014 version of Eraser, an all-around application that specializes in securely cleaning files, folders, online activity traces and other privacy-oriented elements.

Mainly geared toward professionals, it combines four primary features that eradicate sensitive content found in web browsers, system areas and various apps, as well as make files and folders unrecoverable (including previously deleted items) using complex wiping algorithms.

Backed by a scheduler and rich customization set, users are able to automatize tasks and configure each behavioral aspect.

Eraser's trial is available for 15 days, after which users may opt for the full version for $39.95 / €33.01. The installation procedure takes place quickly and requires minimal effort.

The app's interface has been redesigned since our previous review, having a clean structure with all main features broken down into separate categories, where the first step is downloading program updates if any.

The "Dashboard" oversees Eraser's status and indicates important issues that need attendance, along with other information like the last update, privacy guard's last run, and subscription status.


"Privacy Guard" handles traces and other sensitive information that may reveal personal activity to other users, whether they are web-based, belong to Windows system files or other apps. The basic module applies default settings to the scanner, while the advanced one makes room for customizing the areas to take into account.

Eraser supports a wide array of tools such as Google Toolbar, Paint, Windows Media Player and WinRAR, in addition to Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and other web browsers.

It looks into news and email readers (e.g. Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Outlook Express), peer-to-peer utilities (e.g. Azureus, Emule, Frostwire, uTorrent), security-related programs (e.g. Ad-Aaware, avast!, AVG Anti-virus, Glary Utilities), Windows 8 apps, and system locations (e.g. invalid shortcuts, quick launch icons, recently used documents).

advanced
Apart from these presets, it is possible to add new locations by creating custom categories and selecting the target type: single file, multiple or all files from a directory (using filters), folder with all subfolders and files, or any registry entries. Furthermore, the security level for the wiping method may be tweaked on a range from quick (one pass without checking) to very slow (Gutmann's 35-passes algorithm).


If files cannot be erased on the spot, it means they are currently open in other apps. For example, Eraser does not ask the user to close the web browser before initializing the scanning operation. However, it offers to eliminate them by restarting the computer immediately or at the next reboot.

Alternatively, they can be excluded from the list. The selected action is applicable to further scans. Unfortunately, it is not possible to handpick preferred items for deletion.

The secondary Eraser module is dedicated to securely erasing files and folders to make sure they cannot be recovered. They can be imported via an Explorer-based folder structure, or by enabling a search on a particular drive or directory with filters (all or part of the file/folder name, size and date range). The previously mentioned wiping method applies here as well.


Another component of Eraser focuses on wiping free space on one or more drives (local or removable) to prevent unauthorized users from retrieving already deleted files and folders.

The slack of existing files may be wiped in addition to free space, while the properties of deleted files and folders may be scrambled alongside the system transaction log files (only on NTFS).


"Media Wiper" is capable of wiping removable media devices with a 64GB maximum capacity. It can handle multiple mass storage drives at a time. All four components share most advanced settings, including security level adjustment.


For instance, the default security level can be established, while post-task automated actions can be specified (e.g. ignore locked files, power off computer, exit tool). Eraser integrates Explorer shell extensions (e.g. erase data beyond recovery, add items to the erase list), keyboard shortcuts to start, pause, resume and stop any module (can be remapped), and startups in stealth mode, among others.

As far as erase actions are concerned (privacy guard and erasing files/folders), it is possible to wipe the file slack, free space and compressed files (on NTFS drives only) to make compressed items unrecoverable, disable confirmations for starts and interruptions, create an exclusion list for files and folders, enable logging, as well as set the app to ignore any occurring errors and carry on with the tasks.


Scheduling multiple tasks that include one or more components between “Privacy Guard,” “Erase Files and Folders” and “Erase Deleted Data” is possible by entering a name, author and description for each one, establishing a schedule task (e.g. daily, at logon, when exiting, manual), as well as by choosing an automatic action on job completion (e.g. shutdown, exit).

Additionally to scheduling, a job queue can be filled with two or more tasks pertaining to the four Eraser components, which will be run in consecutive order.


The Good

OS support starts with Windows XP and reaches Windows 8 and 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit). Brief and useful tips are displayed throughout the interface, and there is also a complete user manual available.

It leaves minimum footprint on CPU and RAM. Depending on the settings applied, tasks are carried out either quickly or very slow but thorough.

The intuitive interface and default configuration set are enough to get rookies started. Experienced users may fiddle with advanced settings and modify the behavior of each erasing component.

Password protection may be applied to the program. It is possible to schedule a signal that automatically closes Eraser after one or more hours of inactivity. Context menu integration is optional.

The Bad

Items cannot be filtered for deletion after the scanning operation finishes. Apart from English, there are no other UI languages available.

Advertisements with links to other developer apps are shown in the interface even after Eraser is purchased, and they cannot be hidden.

The Truth

While there are many freeware programs dedicated to data shredding, east-tec Eraser 2014 invites users to closely inspect each aspect of the wiping process and fully automate it in a fresh interface.

NOTE: We are giving away 20 free licenses for east-tec Eraser 2014. Each includes a single user license for 1 PC and 1 year, along with free updates and technical support.

In order to enter the contest and get your chance to win one of them, you are expected to come up with an interesting comment in the program's blog post. Please note that any comments you leave in this review page will be disregarded for the campaign.

Deadline is tomorrow, December 24 at 16:00 UTC (8:00 PT), so hurry up!

The campaign has ended. Congratulations to the winners!
user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 4
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 

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