I'm looking for a good method to automatically wipe a directory or drive if I do not check in for a specified period of time. (eg: Someone on a cellphone hits me and I die.)

The ideal method would not be too intrusive or time consuming on a daily basis. It should also send me reminders just in case I forget to check in on occasion. I'm interested in methods for Windows, Linux and OSX since I use all 3 on a regular basis.


If you feel you have a need for a dead-man on your storage, you're doing it backwards. It should never be readable by anyone else in the first place. Therefore you should be using encrypted stores.

If you are hiding information from your wife, mom, or business partner, encryption would probably work. If you are trying to hide it from the man (for any arbitrary definition of "the man"), encryption will likely just waste your time and his.

And yes, security is always intrusive; that you can't avoid.

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    Agreed. ...For encryption, look into TrueCrypt's 'whole disk encryption' feature (Cross platform. Open source). – OmidTahouri Jun 22 '10 at 23:36

I'm not aware of anything cross platform, but the software you're looking for is often called a dead man's switch.

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In my opinion, the method you're requesting isn't appropriate...

You're going to be protecting the data with software that can only be accessed after booting up the computer.

Assuming you're targeted - If the person/people you are protecting this drive from have access to the computer, what's stopping them from removing the physical drive and connecting it to another computer? Thus bypassing the software protection.

Also, requiring and relying on a regular check in seems risky (asteroid hit, massive global power cut, Godzilla, etc...). However, this does depend on how sensitive/important your files are and how long the check in period is.

I vote encrypting your drive. If you were to forget to check in or one of my above examples were to magically happen, your files will be (as you put it) wiped. With encrypting, your files are never wiped but rendered pretty useless to others.

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