We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Security software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Data Destroyer Disk Wipe review


Manufacturer: Hermetic Systems

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Data Destroyer Disk Wipe writes over data to fully erase the contents of a hard drive.

Simply formatting a drive has never been enough to get rid of data completely; otherwise, data recovery specialists would be out of a job. That's where Data Destroyer Disk Wipe comes in. Not only does it erase data on a drive, it writes and rewrites over that data with random bytes, making the wiped data totally unrecoverable.

Data Destroyer Disk Wipe works on any hard drive, memory stick, or floppy disk--anything that's easily rewritable and that is recognized by Windows as its own drive letter. Due to technical limitations inherent in the CD format (such as not being able to easily write to it without special software), it won't work on a CD-RW or DVD-RW.

See all: PC Advisor software downloads

DDDW worked just fine when I tested it on an SD memory card inside a USB memory card reader. That said, those used to fast formatting will be disconcerted that Data Destroyer Disk Wipe takes quite a long time to do its thing--an hour for a single Alternate Bit Patterns Plus Random Bytes pass. To meet the Department of Defense disk sanitization standards, you'd have to do three passes, which will take hours.

You have the option of excluding root directories and the files in them from the purge, but you can't get any more specific than that as far as exclusions. One missing feature that I'd like to see in later versions is the ability to recognize partitions. Data Destroyer Disk Wipe works only on specific drive letters, meaning drives that have already been partitioned; in order to wipe an entire drive, you have to run Data Destroyer Disk Wipe on one partition at a time.

Data Destroyer Disk Wipe also has the ability to wipe a swap file using a separate executable called wipeswap.exe. Swap files are used by Windows to temporarily store files during a RAM shortage, and sensitive information might be stored there. Wiping the swap file is useful because the swap file cannot be wiped on a restart in Windows 95, 98 and ME.

To wipe a swap file, you must reboot your system in DOS mode and run wipeswap from the command line, as it can't be wiped while Windows is running. For users of NT, 2000, XP, or Vista, the operating system can be set up to do this automatically, without the use of wipeswap.

Note: The demo version does not write to the disk except for purposes of estimating the disk write speed. Therefore it doesn't wipe disks, making it more or less useless except to see what the user interface looks like. The full version costs $14.45 for a single-user license.

Note from the vendor: Because of the large amount of time required for secure erasure of large hard drives this software will not wipe a hard drive larger than 20 GB and thus is suitable only for wiping hard drives less than 20 GB, pen drives, writeable data CDs and the like.

Data Destroyer Disk Wipe Expert Verdict »

Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 9.x, Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

If you're selling your PC, or donating it to charity, it's absolutely vital that you run a program such as Data Destroyer Disk Wipe on all your drives first, else you're setting yourself up for identity theft. Those who work with sensitive data regularly (or are reasonably paranoid) will also get a lot of mileage out of this.

  • TeraByte Image for Windows 2.51a review

    TeraByte Image for Windows 2.51a

    TeraByte Image for Windows 2.51a is a drive image backup and restore solution that's almost elegant in its simplicity.

  • Drive Genius 3.1 review

    Drive Genius 3.1

    Drive Genius 3 is a suite of utilities to take care of storage drives, both internal and external, its functions spanning defrag, drive repairs and benchmark testing

  • Amacom Data Locker Pro review

    Amacom Data Locker Pro

    If you want to use a drive on several computers with different operating systems, you need a way to enter a password through something other than Windows software. That's where the Amacom Data Locker Pro AES and its touchscreen LCD come in.

  • MediaTools Wipe 1.1 review

    MediaTools Wipe 1.1

    Need to wipe lots of drives? MediaTools Wipe 1.1 includes support for erasing 18 drives at a time, custom patterns and tons of algorithms. Here's our MediaTools Wipe 1.1 review.

  • BestCrypt 8.24.3 review

    BestCrypt 8.24.3

    BestCrypt is versatile encryption software. Here's our BestCrypt 8.24.3 review.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model