As a first in our Take-two Review series, we take a look at a product I reviewed in the past and see if a newer version of the software improves upon itself and in what ways.
Back in October of last year, I reviewed a Windows-based low-level disk wiping tool called MediaTools Wipe that takes the data on most any drive and entirely obliterates the data, either with all zeros or with a randomly generated jumbled data stream. Although the software managed to carry out the deadly deed of eviscerating all traces of data contained within the drives I chose, there were several issues I had with the way the UI handled itself, particularly on low resolution displays.
- Title: MediaTools Wipe
- Company: Prosoft Engineering
- Product URL: http://www.prosofteng.com/products/media-tools-pro-wipe.php
- Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista and 7 (bootable Linux version on flash drive)
- Price: $99
Today, I revisit MediaTools Wipe to see what has changed in the new release that followed since my last review. Starting with this new version, MediaTools Wipe will be shipped on a USB dongle that can either be installed and run within Windows or be booted straight from the BIOS, should you need to scrape everything off your lone system disk, which can be useful if you need to prepare a computer for sale for instance. For this review however, I'll be looking at the Windows build, but everything I mention here should apply to the bootable environment as well.
After installing the software, one thing is immediately apparent. MediaTools Wipe takes steps to prevent any accidental erasures of drives that you might not want to touch. This is accomplished via a Drive Lock dialog, where you can choose which drives you might not want to see in the erase prep area. Once a drive is checked, it will be hidden from view until you disable the lock, via the settings menu.
One of my initial pet peeves that I mentioned in my previous review was the fact that the main application window was not designed well to fit display resolutions of 1280x800 and lower. Fortunately, Prosoft addressed this weakness by adding clickable triangular arrow buttons that will collapse a portion of the interface if it isn't being used. As you can see, the overall screen real estate this application will consume is now much more reasonable, and you will be able to reach and click the "start" button, located in the bottom-right hand corner.
Finally, a rather welcome addition is the "Multiwipe" option, located between the help and rescan buttons. When you select this mode, a dialog box will show all connected drives, then you can select as little or as many as you want, alter your wipe settings, and voila! You are now able to wipe several drives simultaneously, versus processing each individual drive one by one. Now, if Prosoft can integrate this mode right into the main interface without having to pull up another separate window, it would certainly take the cake.
Make no bones about it; Prosoft has listened to customer feedback and made their premier secure disk erase software more useful and easier to use. That being said, the asking price of $99is rather steep when compared to other solutions, especially the likes of Darik's Boot and Nuke, which is available at no charge and is able to perform the same government-grade wipe quality that MediaTools Wipe can provide.
Honestly, if the price was more like $10 or $15, I'd be able to recommend this wholeheartedly, particularly if you prefer a GUI over a text mode environment. Unfortunately, the price doubled since the last time this software was reviewed. Because of this, I can't see myself buying MediaTools Wipe, and it's a shame, because I liked the improvements I saw in the software itself and I was hoping for a more reasonable price this go around.
- Review: Prosoft MediaTools Wipe for Windows
- Why 'Nothing to Hide' misrepresents online privacy
- Ignoring security advice from the pros: The IT-user disconnect
An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.