Data Shredder - Getting Started

Data Shredder is a feature in Avast Premium Security and Avast Omni that allows you to irreversibly erase your files or whole drives, so that there is no way for anyone to restore and misuse your data.

Shred selected files

This option irreversibly erases individual files or entire folders from your hard drive. Once data is shredded, there is no way to recover it.

To shred specific files or folders on your PC:

  1. Open the Avast user interface, then select PrivacyData Shredder.
  2. Click the File Shredder tile.
  3. Tick the box next to the folder(s) you want to shred and click OK to confirm. Alternatively, expand a folder and tick the individual file(s) you want to shred.
  4. Click Shred All to confirm that you want to shred the selected files.
  5. Click Yes, Shred It to irreversibly shred the selected files.

The selected files are now shredded.

To shred an item directly from File Explorer or your Windows desktop, right-click the relevant file or folder and select Shred using Avast from the context menu. You can enable or disable this option via your application settings.

Shred an entire drive

This option irreversibly erases an entire drive and all data stored on it. Once data is shredded, there is no way to recover it.

It is only possible to shred an entire drive on your PC if you have multiple partitioned drives. Otherwise, you can use this option to shred external drives that are connected to your PC.

To shred a drive on your PC:

  1. Open the Avast user interface, then select PrivacyData Shredder.
  2. Click the Drive Shredder tile.
  3. Click the panel for the drive you want to shred.
  4. Click Yes, Continue to irreversibly shred an entire drive.

The selected drive is now shredded.

You must reformat the partition after shredding it to make it usable again.

Shred deleted files

This option irreversibly erases the remains of previously deleted files. This is useful if you have already deleted files using a standard deletion method. Once data is shredded, there is no way to recover it.

To shred deleted files on your PC:

  1. Open the Avast user interface, then select PrivacyData Shredder.
  2. Click the Deleted Files Shredder tile.
  3. Click the panel for the drive where your deleted files are located.
  4. Click Yes, Continue to irreversibly shred your deleted files.

Your deleted files are now shredded.

Manage settings

In Data Shredder settings you can configure Data Shredder sensitivity and accessibility on your desktop.

To access the settings:

  1. Open the Avast user interface, then select PrivacyData Shredder.
  2. Click Settings (the gear icon) in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Configure the following settings:
    • Show Data Shredder in the Windows context menu: includes Data Shredder in the Windows context menu, so you can conveniently shred data by right-clicking a file or folder and selecting Shred using Avast.
    • Which algorithm for shredding you want to use: select the algorithm that Data Shredder uses to encrypt deleted files. You can choose between 3 algorithms to shred data according to your preferred level of protection:
      • Random overwrite: (selected by default) overwrites your data with random patterns. The number of times your data is overwritten is determined by the number you specify. Click the text box and type a number of passes (the default number is 1). This is the simplest and quickest method.
      • DOD (Department of Defense) 5250.22-M algorithm: overwrites your data with several types of data (0, 1, and random characters) within three passes. This method is more secure, but slightly slower than the Random overwrite method.
      • Gutmann algorithm: overwrites your data according to the encoding mechanism used by the drive. The Gutmann algorithm performs the largest number of passes over the data in comparison with other methods. This is the slowest, but the most secure method.

Further recommendations

For more information about Data Shredder, refer to the following article:

  • Avast Premium Security 20.x
  • Avast Omni 1.x
  • Avast Premier 20.x
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education - 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise - 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 / Pro / Enterprise - 32 / 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate - Service Pack 1, 32 / 64-bit

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