is erasing windows swap files dangerous?

Equus computer systems / Nobilis
November 1, 2010 at 14:33:03
Specs: Windows XP, 76MB/1010MB
I'm setting up Privacy Eraser Pro and being conservative, I wanted to get the advice of an expert about letting it erase swap files at log off. I have an entry level knowledge of virtual mem. My computer is a DIY built by someone else. Here is a snapshot of the system:

Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.100427-1636)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Equus Computer Systems
System Model: Nobilis
BIOS: BIOS Date: 02/26/03 09:37:20 Ver: 08.00.08
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.80GHz
Memory: 766MB RAM
Page File: 866MB used, 1010MB available
Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode

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November 1, 2010 at 14:40:07
I also wanted to add that funds are tight so extra RAM & addtl. hard drive not options right now. In addition I won't be fooling with any root directories or folders; Privacy Eraser doing the work. If the risk is not worth the space I save or speed then that's what I'm here to find out.

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November 1, 2010 at 16:25:46
No, erasing the Swap file is not dangerous but in most cases it is quite pointless. In Windows the correct term is pagefile and that is what I will call it. I am not certain how Privacy Eraser Pro erases the pagefile but I do know what a related registry setting does. The setting tells Windows to completely overwrite the pagefile with zeros when the system shuts down. It does not delete the file. Since the pagefile cannot be touched by any application while Windows is running I must assume that Privacy Eraser Pro uses this setting. The pagefile is erased only during shutdown. It is impossible to do this at any other time.

Erasing the pagefile is a security measure. It has no performance implications whatsoever except that it lengthens the shutdown time. On some systems this can be considerable.

Since the pagefile cannot be accessed by any program while Windows is running a hacker would have to boot into a different operating system on removable media. That is unless the system is set up for dual boot. If a hacker has reached this point the system is already at his mercy, even without accessing the pagefile. Finding a password or something else of interest in hundreds of megabytes of raw data is an uncleared pagefile is formidable undertaking. In most cases he will find what he wants before this.

Most computers have far more serious security problems than am uncleared pagefile. These are problems that Privacy Eraser Pro will do little to nothing about.

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November 1, 2010 at 17:20:33
Thank you Mr. 7. I appreciate your prompt response. Just because something like Privacy Eraser has a bunch of buttons, whistles & bells, I just want to use what's necessary. Thank you for clearing that up.

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