Try out this app to wipe PCs of unwanted files

Just because you've deleted a file doesn't mean it's gone.

Programs such as SecureClean from WhiteCanyon Inc. of Orem, Utah, can retrieve deleted passwords, credit card information and online transactions. I recently used SecureClean to dig up a password I couldn't remember on an old Pentium III PC.

Within 10 minutes, the program found the password'as well as several years' worth of online activities and financial transactions.

Feeling somewhat nervous about this exposure, I decided to install a professional version of CyberScrub 3.0, which is supposed to delete files beyond recovery and improve computer performance.

First I benchmarked the 300-MHz Pentium III using the GCN Lab's PC test suite from Alterion Corp. of Conshohocken, Pa. The PC, with 128M of RAM, registered a score of 1,568, almost 2,000 points lower than the lab's baseline 1.1-GHz Celeron PC with 256M of RAM, which averages 3,365.

Using CyberScrub, I then deleted about 3,347 files and benchmarked the PC again.

Even though I had installed the software on a slow and outdated PC, it took only about 10 seconds and six mouse clicks. CyberScrub's easy-to-use wizard gave me a one-click option for erasing specific files, previously deleted files or evidence of online activity.

In addition, an easy-to-navigate central menu allowed more control over finding a specific file for deletion.

It also could define the extent of the deletion to include such procedures as data scrambling.
Patience is a virtue with CyberScrub. It took two hours, 10 minutes to delete all the unwanted files from the Pentium III. On a newer, 2-GHz Pentium 4 with 512M of RAM, deletion of old files went a little faster, taking about 45 minutes.

The vendor claims the software not only erases files beyond recovery but also exceeds Defense Department standards for deletion. After running CyberScrub once, I reran it but couldn't find any lingering unwanted files.

I noticed an increase in performance on the Pentium III even before rerunning the Alterion benchmark. Speedup was particularly evident in opening or closing programs or turning the computer on and off.

I then installed and ran CyberScrub on several old notebook PCs, which often suffer from slow boot-ups and shutdowns. I saw similar performance increases.

CyberScrub added about 664 points to the Pentium III's score, which reached 2,232.

Practice makes perfect with CyberScrub. The more you use it, the faster it will delete files next time and the better the computer performs.

CyberScrub worked for me on all Microsoft Windows operating systems in the lab, and it needed only about 1M of free storage.

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