Section: Maintenance Commands (8)
Updated: June 2014
Page Index


ntfswipe - overwrite unused space on an NTFS volume  


ntfswipe [options] device  


ntfswipe clears all or part of unused space on an NTFS volume by overwriting with zeroes or random bytes.  


Below is a summary of all the options that ntfswipe accepts. Nearly all options have two equivalent names. The short name is preceded by - and the long name is preceded by --. Any single letter options, that don't take an argument, can be combined into a single command, e.g. -fv is equivalent to -f -v. Long named options can be abbreviated to any unique prefix of their name.
-a, --all
Wipe all unused space. This may take significant time. If the option --unused-fast (or -U) is also present, the faster wiping method is used.
-b, --bytes BYTE-LIST
Define the allowed replacement bytes which are drawn randomly to overwrite the unused space. BYTE-LIST is a comma-separated list of values in range 0-255 expressed in octal, decimal or hexadecimal base.
-c, --count NUM
Define the number of times the unused space is to be overwritten. If both options --bytes and --count are set, the space is repeatedly overwritten this number of times by each of the values in the list.
-d, --directory
Wipe all the directory indexes, which may contain names of deleted files.
-f, --force
This will override some sensible defaults, such as not using a mounted volume. Use this option with caution.
-h, --help
Show a list of options with a brief description of each one.
-i, --info
Display details about unused space, without wiping anything.
-l, --logfile
Overwrite the logfile (update journal).
-m, --mft
Overwrite the unused space in the MFT (main file table, which contains the file names, and the contents of short files).
-n, --no-action
Executes the wiping process without writing to device.
-p, --pagefile
Overwrite the Windows swap space.
-q, --quiet
Suppress some debug/warning/error messages.
-s, --undel
Overwrite the space which had been allocated to a file which has been deleted recently and is still undeletable. This option is not compatible with --bytes and the replacement bytes are random ones or taken from a standard list.
-t, --tails
Overwrite the space at the end of files which is unused, but allocated because the allocations are always done by full clusters.
-u, --unused
Overwrite the space which is currently not allocated to any file (but may have been used in the past).
-U, --unused-fast
Overwrite the space which is currently not allocated to any file, trying not to overwrite the space not written to since the previous wiping.
-v, --verbose
Display more debug/warning/error messages. This option may be used twice to display even more messages.
-V, --version
Show the version number, copyright and license of ntfswipe.


Wipe out all unused space in an NTFS volume.

ntfswipe -a /dev/sda1

Wipe out all deleted file names from an NTFS volume.

ntfswipe -dms /dev/sda1



There are no known problems with ntfswipe. If you find a bug please send an email describing the problem to the development team:


ntfswipe was written by Richard Russon, Anton Altaparmakov and Yura Pakhuchiy. It was ported to ntfs-3g by Erik Larsson.  


ntfswipe is part of the ntfs-3g package and is available from:


ntfs-3g(8), ntfsls(8), ntfsprogs(8)