Nova Development – Drive Erase Pro review

permanently erase unwanted hard drive data
Photo of Nova Development – Drive Erase Pro
£29.99

A recent TV programme made a shock revelation that thousands of obsolete computers, which had apparently had their hard drives wiped, had been sold abroad and financial data, passwords and private information had still been extracted from the supposedly ‘dead’ drives.

ID theft is such a potent threat today that software that promises to do what it says on the packet – i.e. truly erase or overwrite data permanently – is a much sought-after commodity. Nova Development’s latest contribution to data security is Drive Erase Pro, which comes in four distinct parts and on two discs, with both a paper and PDF manual.

Once installed, the main program asks you which drive data you want to erase (including partitions, which can also be wholly deleted) and then points you to seven data destruction methods which use multiple algorithms to do the destruction, or you can customize your own pattern.

Obviously the ones that require several passes (it could be as many as 35) will take considerably longer than the Fast option (which only needs one) but will be that much more thorough. A couple of clicks later and the work is done, and you can then use the Data Viewer utility to confirm that the data has indeed vanished for good.

If, on the other hand, you only want to get rid of specific folders or files on external or internal drives, rather than wipe the whole drive, then you can turn to File Shredder. This functions in exactly the same way as Drive Erase Pro except that it offers you a Windows Explorer style menu to choose from and you tick off what you want to delete.

It could be that you want to wipe the main drive completely (perhaps to get rid of a virus or because you’re throwing out or selling on the computer), in which case the box comes with a Boot CD which will do the same job as soon as your PC switches on.

Some editions may not come with the Boot CD or you might lose it over time: no problem, as the Installation disc contains the necessary MediaBuilder program to make another one. You are reminded constantly that only when you hit the magic ‘Proceed’ button will the destruction begin, as there’s no way back once you give that command.

Finally you have a bonus piece of software (SurfSecret Privacy Protector) which quietly erases every Internet-related track you make, including your browsing in Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL, Firefox, etc. It also removes all cookies you don’t want plus instant message data and last-searched Google material.

You can then password-protect SurfSecret so that no-one else can use it on your computer and change the settings, or you can make it disappear from the desktop by putting it in Stealth mode.

The only downside is that this software is only available for Windows systems – Mac users will have to hunt elsewhere.

Company: Nova Development

Contact: 01752 895100


Verdict
An affordable and effective security package that does indeed guarantee that dead data stays dead on your PC and can't be recovered (except possibly by forensic experts), with some extra help towards preventing illegal data retrieval via the Internet.