PGP Shred Utility

PGP Desktop (now known as Symantec Drive Encryption) includes a valuable utility called Shred. When file are deleted in the normal manner, they are either placed in the Recycle Bin or Trash. or simply have all pointers to the data removed from the disk while the data itself remains. These files can be retrieved with any number of specialized utilities. For documents with sensitive information, the Shred utility can be used to make certain that these files will never bee recoverable after being securely disposed of. Additionally, Shred can be used to scrub free space on your disk, which will completely erase files that were previously deleted, but not securely shredded.

Using Shred Files (Windows)

If the policy the computer is currently using allows use of the utility, Shred should show up in the PGP Desktop main screen. PGP Desktop can be opened in Windows either by clicking its taskbar icon or opening it from the Start, Programs dialog.

  1. From within the PGP Desktop application, select the Shred button. This will open up the normal Explorer window used for selecting files.
  2. Navigate to the directory containing the file that you wish to delete and select the file. Multiple files can be selected by holding the Control key and clicking.
  3. Click the Open button. A PGP confirmation dialog box will open to confirm the deletions.
  4. Click Yes to start the shredding process. The resulting dialog will show the progress of the pending file deletions. If the file you are deleting is large, or you have selected a large number of files, this process will take a while. You will be able to work while the deletion proceeds, but be advised that system performance may be reduced until the process is complete.

Alternately, Shred can be used from within the right-click menu when clicking on files.

  1. Right click on the file you wish to shred, or select multiple files by control-clicking them.
  2. Hover over the PGP Desktop menu item, then select PGP Shred ____________. A PGP confirmation dialog box will open to confirm the deletions.
  3. Click Yes to start the shredding process. The resulting dialog will show the progress of the pending file deletions. If the file you are deleting is large, or you have selected a large number of files, this process will take a while. You will be able to work while the deletion proceeds, but be advised that system performance may be reduced until the process is complete.

Using Shred Files (Mac)

If the policy the computer is currently using allows use of the utility, Shred should appear in a few places

  • Within the PGP Desktop application in can be found:
    •     In the navigation bar, there is an icon resembling a partially shredded paper with an orange x.
    •     Under the File menu by selecting the Shred option.
  • In the Applications folder there is a PGP Shredder application (you can drag and drop files onto this Application to shred them) or alternatively can select Shred from the File menu.
  • When you right click or press Option and click on a file or folder, you should see a PGP Desktop sub menu with a Shred option.

Using Shred Free Space (Windows)

If the policy the computer is currently using allows use of the utility, Shred should show up in the PGP Desktop main screen. PGP Desktop can be opened in Windows either by clicking its taskbar icon or opening it from the Start, Programs dialog.

  1. Select the Shred Free Space option from within the PGP Desktop window. The PGP Shred Free Space Assistant dialog will open. Click Next.
  2. At the Gathering Information screen, select the drive you wish to shred, and how many passes. 3 is the standard, secure option. 1 is quickest, but offers the least certainty that data is actually gone, and 5 should be sufficient for the most sensitive of installations. Once you have chosen your options, click Next.
  3. In the Perform Shred screen, you can either Begin Shred, which starts the process immediately, or Schedule, which will let you set a time in the future to begin the shredding process. This is a good may be a good idea for users who need high performance out of their machines and would like the process to begin after they have left the machine for the day.
    • PLEASE NOTE: While Shred Free Space is in progress, you will be unable to use PGP Desktop for any other operations with PGP utilities. The rest of the programs on your machine will be usuable, but may experience reduced performance due to Shred Free Space disk activity.
  4. If you have selected Begin Shred, the shredding process will begin, showing the progress of each pass. Alternately, if you have selected Schedule, you will be required to authenticate with your administrator credentials and further configuration about when the shredding should happen will be configured from the Windows Task Scheduler.
    • If you receive a message that states Couldn't add the job to the task scheduler. Please check to make sure the scheduler is correctly installed., this actually indicates that you did not authenticate successfully. Attempt authenticating again, with the full domain in the Domain\user format.
  5. Once the process finishes, the dialog will inform you that the free space has been shredded. Select Next, then Finish to close the PGP Shred Free Space Assistant.

Warning for Removable Media

Shred can be used for removable media like flash drives and external hard disks as well, but the process can take much longer. Between the translation over the USB or Firewire interface and the frequently reduced speed at which these drives run, the shredding process can take dramatically longer than local deletions. When deleting large files, or large numbers of files, be prepared to leave the device attached to the computer overnight while the process completes. Additionally, shredding is an intensive process that increases the chance of disk failure. Always make sure to have multiple backups of important data, particularly when the devices have shredding or encryption happening on them.

 

 

Print This Page Share:
Date Posted: April 17, 2013 Tags: Technical Info, Provider Resource, Security, Encryption

Was this information helpful?

Login with PennKey to view and post comments