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 on your PC:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Select the Privacy tile from the left menu, and select Data Shredder.
  3. Click the File Shredder button.
  4. Tick the box next to the files you want to shred and click OK to confirm. You can select single files by expanding a folder, or select an entire folder.
  5. Click Yes, Continue to irreversibly shred the selected files.
Optionally, shred an individual file or folder by right-clicking it in File Explorer or on your desktop and selecting the Shred using Avast option from the Windows context menu.

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.

To shred a drive on your PC:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Select the Privacy tile from the left menu, and select Data Shredder.
  3. Click the Drive Shredder button.
  4. Click the panel for the drive you want to shred.
  5. Click Yes, Continue to irreversibly shred an entire drive.
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 used a standard deletion method, such as manually deleting the files. Once data is shredded, there is no way to recover it.

To shred deleted files on your PC:

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Select the Privacy tile from the left menu, and select Data Shredder.
  3. Click the Deleted Files Shredder button.
  4. Click the panel for the drive where your deleted files are located.
  5. Click Yes, Continue to irreversibly shred your deleted files.

Manage settings

Data Shredder will encrypt your files after they're deleted, rendering them unreadable even if they're recovered. Manage the settings to configure Data Shredder sensitivity and accessibility on your desktop.

  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Click MenuSettings.
  3. Select PrivacyData Shredder.
  4. Configure the following settings:
    • Show Data Shredder in the Windows context menu: ticking this option will include Data Shredder in the Windows context menu for convenient access to data shredder when you right-click a file or folder.
    • Which algorithm for shredding you want to use: select the algorithm you want to use to encrypt your deleted files when they are shredded. You can choose between 3 algorithms to shred your 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) 5220.22-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.
  1. Open the Avast user interface.
  2. Select PrivacyData Shredder.
  3. Click (the gear icon) in the top-right corner of the Data Shredder screen.
  4. Configure the following settings:
    • Show Data Shredder in the Windows context menu: ticking this option will include Data Shredder in the Windows context menu for convenient access to data shredder when you right-click a file or folder.
    • Which algorithm for shredding you want to use: select the algorithm you want to use to encrypt your deleted files when they are shredded. You can choose between 3 algorithms to shred your 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) 5220.22-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.

Additional information

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

  • Avast Premium Security 19.x
  • Avast Omni 1.x
  • Avast Premier 19.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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