Permanent Eraser 2.8 Review

By Harvey Rubensteiin


Beginning with OS 10.3 Panther (24 Oct 03) Apple’s Finder had the option to “Secure Erase”. But that was eliminated 12 years later with OS 10.11, El Capitan (30 Sep 15).

Overview & Conclusion

Permanent Eraser By Edenwaith (

  • PE first released 30 Oct 03.
  • 64-bit so will almost certainly work with Mojave.
  • Intel & Power PC.
  • Can locate PE in Finder’s Toolbar.
  • Works with Automator.
  • NOTE: Erasing can also be done in other apps such as OnyX (free), AweEraser ($30.00), & Shredit X ($25.00)
  • Regularly updated.
  • Incredibly easy to use. It just works…

All things considered, I still found PE to be a 5 star application, especially for one that is free.


  • 1 Pass-Simple: Overwrites the file with a single pass of random data. This option is automatically used when erasing files on an SSD to prevent unnecessary wear on the drive.
  • 3 Pass-DoE: Overwrites the file with the 3-pass. DoE compliant algorithm (two passes are random).
  • 7 Pass-DoD: Overwrites the file with 7 DoD compliant passes (0xF6, 0x00, 0xFF, and 4 random. This is the default option.
  • 35 Pass-Gutmann: (Created in 1996 by Peter Claus Gutmann; a Ph.D computer scientist at the University of Auckland.) Overwrites your data 35 times, scrambles the original file name, and then truncates the file size to nothing before Permanent Eraser finally unlinks it from the system.
  • Impossible to recover by conventional means, e.g, need super-computer, electron microscope, and other exotic toys to measure residual magnetism, etc.
  • Resource forks are erased. (Resource forks may contain the code of a program, the commands of a font file, etc.)
  • PE does NOT erase free space, so use Disk Utility for that.
  • Supports Drag & Drop.
  • Can erase CD-RW & DVD-RW
  • Quick: Fast (1 pass ?)
  • Complete: Slower, but better (3 pass?)
  • Of course, there is a preference to warn before erasing.
  • While not a documented feature, it is great as an emergency tool to empty the trash of recalcitrant files.


  • Not recommended for SSDs or Fusion drives.
  • NOTE: Will only make 1 pass on SSD & Fusion drives, so if high security is an issue, you should probably encrypt the file before erasing. Still, it’s best to avoid using; but no need to be obsessive about it, as SSDs, from an archival perspective, only last ~7 yrs. And 1 pass is really not too bad, especially as your computer may not last that long. [And in some cases, the user might not last that long.]
  • The Web site does not provide a Contact link, ergo support may be lacking. But Dr. Gutmann could still be contacted by using his campus email.