Software version: 5.2.0
Answers to common technical problems are provided below. For questions about ordering or license keys, see the Support Page instead.
Hardwipe Desktop Edition won't let you wipe the drive on which the OS is hosted (the option will always be greyed out). To do this, you will need to create a bootable USB stick (or CD) with the Hardwipe Portable Edition and Windows PE. Detailed instructions are provided on how to do this.
From the options window, select "Don't Show Menus" under "File Explorer Integration" on the interface page tab.
When you right-click on a drive in Windows Explorer, you will see an option to wipe the drive's logical volume. This is because Explorer shows only logical volumes, and not devices. If you wish to wipe at the physical device level instead, you will need to run Hardwipe as a standalone application and select the "Hardwipe -> Physical Devices" command.
The network interface does not provide the low level access needed to wipe a networked drive. Instead, you must run Hardwipe on the server itself. You can, however, "clean free space" and wipe file items over the network interface.
The software can be uninstalled from the Windows "Control Panel".
For modern hard-disks (HDDs), a single pass scheme is widely considered sufficient. Where disk compression is in use, it is suggested that a scheme employing a pseudo-random write pass always be used.
The Hardwipe RAZER schemes employ one or more random passes, with a final zero value write pass. The random passes are designed to ensure maximum data destruction where disk compression is utilized, whereas the final pass zeros the storage space, and is useful for virtual disk optimization while leaving no obvious sign that the disk was sanitized.
For flash memory devices, including SSDs and USB thumb drives, it has been found* that a full drive overwrite using a two pass sanitization scheme (or more) can be expected to destroy most of the data on the device, but should not be considered to be universally reliable. However, writable flash memory elements have a limited life in terms of erase cycles (around 3,000 to 5,000 cycles). For this reason, overwriting an entire SSD, or a large proportion of its storage area, should be a task performed only sparingly.
There is probably little to be gained in performing the 35 pass Gutmann scheme with HDDs. Schemes with an excessively high number of a write passes are also not recommended with SSDs.
*Source: Michael Wei, Laura Grupp, Frederick E. Spada, and Steven Swanson of the University of California, Reliably Erasing Data from Flash-Based Solid State Drives.
Hardwipe opens a handle to the raw physical device or drive volume, as selected, and overwrites all accessible storage. When wiping a physical device, any mounted volumes will first be unmounted.
Individual files are overwritten multiple times according to the chosen sanitization scheme, growing in size up to the next multiple of 4KB. An optional verification pass will compare each byte with what was written in the previous overwrite pass. The file will then be truncated to zero size and closed. Finally, the file will be renamed multiple times using random ASCII names before being removed.
Hardwipe creates a number of large dummy files on the drive until it is completely full (it does not delete existing file data). Once the drive is completely full, all dummy files are removed.
When wiping selected files, Hardwipe will wipe beyond the end of the file in order to over-write slack-space. When cleaning free-space, however, Hardwipe does not currently wipe slack-space associated with existing data.
No, not currently. A future version of Hardwipe may implement this.
Verification and disk I/O failures will be shown in the Log Report window. Additionally, the result of the operation will be shown on the main window as "Partial Success". A high number of disk I/O or verification errors will result in the operation terminating. This failure threshold is configurable from the options window.
Flash memory devices and RAID volumes present certain caveats. See the section on Device Considerations in the User Guide for more information.
When I wipe the recycler contents, some files are not over-written and the message "access denied" is shown in the log. What's wrong?
It seems that Windows occasionally loses track of files in the recycler (the recycler will show empty, but non-indexed files remain). Hardwipe can see that these files exist, but Windows does not allow an unprivileged user write-access to them.
In this scenario, the solution is to empty the recycler with admin/elevated UAC privilege. Note that this will wipe all the recycle bin contents, including files moved there by other users (not just the current user).
When I right-click certain file types in Explorer and select "Wipe File", the message "access denied" is shown in the log. What's wrong?
Some other process has the file open, and this is preventing Hardwipe from wiping it. You must close any application that currently has the file open before it can be removed.
It has been reported that this commonly happens with PDF files because PDF Reader software typically comes with an additional plugin for Windows Explorer which provides a document preview whenever the file is selected. Unfortunately, it was found that this third-party plugin keeps the file open unnecessarily, thus preventing Hardwipe from removing it. In this case, the solution is simply to close the preview pane in the Windows Explorer temporarily before wiping the file.
Wiping a "physical device" will also wipe any partitions it had, and Windows will no longer be able to see the drive as a logical volume. You will need to re-create a partition on the device using a suitable drive configuration tool, such as "Administrative Tools/Computer Management" provided by Windows.
If you wipe a "logical volume", you will need to re-format the volume before you can write files there. Typically, Windows will prompt you to do this.
In order to clean free drive space, Hardwipe overwrites unused space by generating large "dummy" files. Normally these files are removed at the end of the cleaning operation. However, if the operation is interrupted unexpectedly, i.e. by pulling out a USB connection, these files may not get deleted. In this case, you must delete them yourself using the File Explorer.
During cleaning, a directory will be created on the root of the drive with the name "hwipe_xxxxxxxx" (where "x" denotes a random character). Simply delete this directory and its contents to remove all dummy files left by Hardwipe.
I have two drive volumes, but only one physical disk. Is is safe to wipe the D drive volume?
Assuming that this is what you want to do, then yes. Hardwipe will wipe the D volume only (the C volume will be left untouched).
Yes. Hardwipe does not delete any existing files using the "clean" operation.
Hardwipe is currently available for Windows only, but was designed from the outset to be fully cross-platform. Future versions may be available for other platforms.
What if I wipe something by accident?
Wiping data with Hardwipe is a two-stage operation. You will always be required to confirm your intention by clicking "Start" after initiating any wipe procedure. Additionally, you will be prompted with an extra confirmation window when wiping drives in order to really make sure of your intention. But, yes, you do need to ensure that anything you wipe with Hardware is no longer needed, as data can't be recovered later.