Top 5 Free File Shredders for Windows

A digital file is never gone until the space it occupies on the system is overwritten by other data. This is the purpose of a file shredder when sensitive data must be thoroughly destroyed in certain situations. The one that tends to be top of mind is in the case of upgrading to new hardware and the need to discard a hard drive. However, even during continued usage of a drive, there are occasions when it is advisable to delete information that is best not readily accessed by anybody other than yourself.

File shredder programs permanently delete files so that they can never be undeleted and recovered. They basically work by rewriting your selected files many times over with random binary data obliterating the original contents. There are many free file shredder applications which will permanently delete files for you. The selected ones work with all versions of Windows, some have multi-language support, and they have been chosen to fit a variety of circumstances.


HDShredder Free Edition

A free file shredder that will erase entire drives, partitions, and operating systems

More than a file shredder, HDShredder Free Edition is designed to securely erase entire hard drives, disks or partitions and is targeted to home or temporary use. It can be installed on your system to delete drives and partitions, or you can boot it from an ISO file on disc or USB drive to delete the hard drive where the OS resides. In other words, it runs both inside and outside of the Windows OS.

Downloaded, it launches to a plain and simple dialog. A wizard takes you through the steps needed to delete a drive – select ‘Erase Disk‘ on the main menu, choose the drive to be deleted, select the number of times it should be overwritten and click through to the ‘Start‘ button. A report is generated detailing the operation.

Multiple deletion standards are supported and can be customized to the user’s preference, providing a high level of security and flexibility.



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Blank And Secure

Overwrite with zeros and delete files so that they are never seen again

Blank And Secure is a very basic freeware utility with a very basic interface. It does, however, have drag and drop capability and it is portable – just drop it on your desktop and click to launch it. Instructions are provided above the main window, and a menu bar provides for Reset, Delete, Delete & Exit as well as two options for selecting the number of times to overwrite and to delay deleting.

  • Reset – clears the list
  • Delete – overwrites selected folders and files and deletes them
  • Overwrite – # times chooses the number of times the selected file is overwritten
  • Delete Delay – # seconds can delay or stop the erasing procedure using the ESC key

Standard deletion tracks are removed from the hard drive by filling the free space with null. Messages and logging display at the bottom of the screen.

The free program is available in a number of languages.



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PermaDelete Portable

Overwrite data fast – so that it can never be recovered

A file shredder that lets you destroy all traces of sensitive data quickly without any need for technical knowledge, PermaDelete is just that – a utility that will permanently delete the files you would never want hacked into or stolen.

This simple but versatile tool with a drag and drop interface makes shredding files a quick and easy operation. Once your selected files are in the main window, you just click ‘Shred Files‘ or ‘Shred Folders‘. You are asked to confirm, and your selected document, image or video file is destroyed with just one overwrite. For even greater convenience, you also have the option of dragging a file to the program’s icon on the desktop.



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SSuite File Shredder

Private files destroyed without a trace

Clean data from your hard drive, a USB memory card, or any other device where sensitive information is contained in files. SSuite File Shredder overwrites selected files with random data 35 times by default and deletes them forever.

The simple user interface provides three buttons in a panel alongside the main window. Use ‘Add Files‘ to select the files you want to destroy, ‘Clear File’ will clear any files added in error, and ‘Clear List‘ clears all the selected files, and you can start again. Next, you’ll find a ‘Paranoia Setting‘ where you can adjust the default overwrite number, an option to ‘Encrypt File Before Shredding’, and the ‘Shred‘ button. Just click this, confirm and shred the files.

The paranoia setting increases or decreases the number of times random data is written over the selected files – a high value and large files will result in the shredding taking longer.

This is a completely portable utility that will permanently delete files with no Java or DotNet required.



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Files Terminator Free Portable

Drag and drop to permanently delete sensitive data

A convenient portable utility, Files Terminator Free is a file shredder that is easy to use at all levels of experience. Its user-friendly interface is simple to navigate, and files are destroyed to the point that they can never be recovered.

There are a number of shredding methods available on a drop-down menu. Files selected for shredding are subjected to multiple passes of the method(s) selected and subsequently overwritten several times with random data. Operation is as simple as – dropping your files into the window (or pick them using the File Menu), choosing the shredding method(s), and clicking ‘Destroy Files‘ or ‘Destroy Folder‘. Your files are destroyed. You then have the option to ‘Destroy Free Space‘.

From Elefant Software, Files Terminator is available in many languages.



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