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CCleaner did not securely delete the files and Recuva shows as "Not Deleted"


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Hello,

I wanted to permanently securely delete some files in hard drive, so I ran "Drive Wiper" in CCleaner with settings "Free Space Only", "Complex Overwrite (7 passes)", "Wipe MFT Free Space" with "Wipe Alternate Data Streams" and "Wipe Cluster Tips" check-boxes selected. It ran over night and successfully completed, when I ran Recuva with "Show Securely Overwritten files" and "Scan non-deleted files" options, it brought up files with ZZZ files (with status: Excellent and comment: No overwritten clusters detected.) and a bunch of non-deleted files  (with status: Non-deleted with comment: No overwritten clusters detected.). I have two questions.

1. Are ZZZ files securely deleted and unrecoverable? Why status is showing "Excellent" in Recuva? When I downloaded them, they are 1 kb files and doesn't show any contents.

2. Why files are still showing as "Not Deleted" in Recuva, when right-clicked the "Secure Overwrite" option is grayed out, when I downloaded them, they successfully downloaded and I could open the files and see the contents. I would want to delete these files, please help me how could I securely delete these non-deleted files?

I have a few screenshots attached here for the CCleaner settings and Recuva results showing ZZZ and Non-deleted files. Your quick response would be appreciated.

Thanks.

CCleaner Options.PNG

CCleaner Drive Wiper Setting.PNG

Recuva showing ZZZ files.PNG

Recuva showing Not Deleted files.PNG

Edited by MRMS
corrections
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1. Yes they are deleted and cannot be recovered except for the Zedded filenames; as you have found yourself there are no contents.
They are 'excellent' in terms that those filenames are 'excellent', - all Zeds but excellent Zeds.
That's why they are so small they are just the filenames and each filename has been changed to junk anyway.

2. The MFT will contain references to deleted files that are no longer there, note that in your screenshot it's all old file references from the recycle bin.

The MFT may also contain some small files that were written directly to the MFT rather than elswhere on the disc.
I think that is what you are seeing here and why they are recoverable.

CCleaner can get rid of these after they have been deleted by wiping the MFT Free Space - but it has to wipe the whole of the free space on the disc at the same time which can take ages.
Modern drives have become so large, terrabytes, that the time taken to wipe the whole free space becomes prohibitive.

Secure Deletion and Disc wiping all comes down to a question of how likely it is that someone will want to recover whatever has been deleted.

If I bought or otherwise acquired an old computer or old drive I would have a look if anything had been left behind - not because I wanted to snoop your home videos but because there could be any kind of malware (or something illegal) on there.

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Nukecad,

Thank you for quick response.

1. I am good with ZZZ files as they are now non-readable even when downloaded.

2. As far as "Not Deleted" files are concerned, I had run the CCleaner using "Wipe MFT Free Space" option to securely delete the files. I found that, there is a View option in Windows Explorer (see attached screenshot) that makes you enable to see hidden folders, files, and protected operating system files. This helped me to see the 
"$RECYCLE.BIN" folder and subfolders in external hard drive in Windows Explorer where "Not Deleted" files (see Recuva screenshot from my previous posting) were hidden, the same showed up in Recuva earlier. I securely deleted these files from "$RECYCLE.BIN" folder again and I ran Recuva with "Deep Scan" and "scan for non-deleted files" option and they didn't show up. Do you think I should be good now?

Thanks

 

Windows Explore View Option.PNG

External Drive Recycle Bin.PNG

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