When a file is deleted from the hard drive and the free space it used to occupy is securely overwritten (wiped), recovery tools can still usually find the file was there and show its name. As far as I understand this is because some data about old files is left in MFT area. How to eliminate this?


I've used the MFT wipe free space with CClean. (It does take forever, up to several days.)

Before running wipe, I could easily get a full list of previously deleted files with Recuva, despite the files being several years old and overwritten multiple times beyond recovery. This is because Recuva takes the list of files from MFT. https://www.piriform.com/docs/recuva/technical-information/how-recuva-works (Unless you run the deepscan, which actually goes through the disk, seeing what's in there. This also takes forever, however.)

After running MFT wipe free space with CClean, Recuva finds nothing. Not without deepscan anyways. Therefore, I'm fairly certain CClean also takes MFT into account whilst wiping.


Short answer, it is not possible.

The MFT is a complex dynamic table file at the heart of the NTFS. To change one small part of it, corrupts the whole drive.

MS isn't telling how it is structured, and no one is going to risk putting out a application on a trial and error basis, that 'cleans' the file names, if there is any chance it will destroy the system.

(Oh yes, insert negative comments about MS exposing peoples data here.)

So depending on the pros and cons, you may want to restart with a fresh install, and then use less sensitive file names and use secure deletion at the recycling bin. Use TrueCrypt containers to keep files separate from programs. Perhaps FDE (Full Disk Encryption) is a option if it is that important.

To make things clear to others, it is not what Ccleaner and the others do, drive wiping the MTF and defragging it and all the rest doesn't clean the MFT names. They overwrite the file spaces in the MTF, but the names remain. It is the deletion of the FILE NAMES ONLY that the OP is asking about. (File names that can only be seen with specialized file recovery applications)


First, check how many files Recuva reports that can be recovered. Say it is 1001.
Open a command window and create a temporary directory. Change to that directory.

MKDIR C:\TempReco
CD C:\TempReco

Create at least 1001 files in this directory using the command below with proper parameters.

FOR /L %i in (1,1,1001) do echo willdelete>file%i.tmp

When this completes, delete the files with either from command window or by locating with Windows Explorer. Then, empty the Recycle Bin.
When you check again with Recuva, it will only show filenames you have just deleted.

  • 1
    In case Windows does not clean unused space when storing a new name in an MFT record, you may want to use a longer name in the 'file%i.tmp' template, like 'atleastfirst80charactersofdeletednamesshouldbecleared%i.tmp'. – Burhan Oct 7 '15 at 14:30

I think Paragon Hard Disk Manager Suite (Pro?) can help you do this by shrinking the MFT:

As the $MFT grows, it will occupy the increasing amount of space in the MFT Zone, and the current size of $MFT is totally unrelated to the size of the MFT Zone.
When one executes the "Compact MFT" (also may be called “Shrink MFT” in some editions) operation, the $MFT itself will be shrinked, but the MFT Zone will remain intact - just a block of reserved free space.

It can shrink the MFT, which means deleted file records won't be there anymore.


Revo Uninstaller freeware wipes the MFT almost completely. Tested on formated WD 500GB with AVG PC tuneup utility to view the MFT size before Revo Unistaller and after Revo Unistaller. MFT almost completely gone while before it was enormous.


Go to Tools --> Tracks Cleaner --> Evidence Remover --> select drive and run it.


The Most Reliable way to do this is also the simplest

  1. copy your files to a second hard drive
  2. wipe the source drive using something like DBAN and reformat
  3. transfer the data back.

This has to be done with a file level copy utility like robocopy since using imaging software will copy the entire partition MFT and all.

Of course this is only practical for non system disks while it is theoretically possible to do this with a OS drive you need to ensure that your using a tool capable of copying hidden and system files along with the ACL's. You will also need to perform additional steps in the recovery console to rebuild the boot sector, MBR and BCD from scratch to ensure that the system will see the new partition as bootable. Its mostly a crap shoot and you would be better off just doing a clean reinstall of your OS

  • might wanna use something like winrar in Store mode to backup to a single file, that way when you delete backup you won't have inflated MFT. – colin lamarre Jan 16 at 15:43

The free software "PriVazer" has an option to securely delete file names on MFT and it doesn`t take that long! Another free prog. is "MooO Anti recovery". This also has an option to securely erase old "deleted" file names.

  • Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. You should provide at least a link, some additional information about the software itself, and how it can be used to solve the problem in the question. – DavidPostill Jan 22 '18 at 17:42

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