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1 .TH WIPE-FREE 1 "2021 Jan 15" littleutils
2 .SH NAME
3 wipe-free \- overwrite all free space in a filesystem with zeros
4 .SH SYNOPSIS
10 .SH DESCRIPTION
11 \fBwipe-free\fR writes very large files containing all zeros to the current
12 directory until the filesystem is filled (or the specified maximum number of
13 files is written, and then deletes them all. This effectively zeros out all
14 free space in the filesystem, making the filesystem much more
15 \fIcompressible\fR when backing up entire filesystem images. The \fBdd\fR,
16 \fBfilesize\fR, \fBsync\fR, and \fBtempname\fR utilities serve as the engines
17 of the \fBwipe-free\fR utility.
18 .SH OPTIONS
21 Set the block size used by \fBdd\fR, in bytes. The default value is 4096.
24 Set the number of block per zero file. The default value is 262144, which is
25 enough to yield a file of exactly 1 GiB.
28 Limit the number of files written by \fBwipe-free\fR. The default value is
29 4096, which is enough to fill a 4 TiB drive using the defaults given above.
31 Print help and quit.
32 .SH NOTES
33 The reason that \fBwipe-free\fR writes zeros in chunks (instead of all at
34 once), is that several filesystems tends to slow down markedly as they approach
35 full. NTFS is one such culprit. With the periodic listing of the zero files,
36 the user can detect such slowdown and manually halt \fBwipe-free\fR (via Ctrl-C)
37 if desired.
39 Additionally, it should be noted that wipe-free is NOT a \fIsecure\fR wiping
40 utility. If you're trying to ensure that data potentially stored in unused
41 sectors cannot \fIever\fR be read, then a formal secure erase program (such as
42 \fBshred\fR or a utility from the \fBsecure_deletion\fR package) should be
43 used instead.
45 Alternatives to \fBwipe-free\fR include \fBzerofree\fR (which works on ext2/3/4
46 filesystems) and the three-step sequence of \fBntfsclone\fR \fI--save-image\fR,
47 \fBdd\fR \fIif=/dev/zero\fR, and \fBntfsclone\fR \fI--restore-image\fR (which
48 works on NTFS filesystems). These alternatives are more thorough than
49 \fBwipe-free\fR, but are limited to specific filesystems.
50 .SH "SEE ALSO"
51 \fBdd\fR(1), \fBfilesize\fR(1), \fBshred\fR(1), \fBsync\fR(1),
52 \fBtempname\fR(1), \fBntfsclone\fR(1), \fBzerofree\fR(1)
53 .SH COPYRIGHT
54 Copyright (C) 2011-2021 by Brian Lindholm. This program is free software; you
55 can use it, redistribute it, and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU
56 General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
57 version 3, or (at your option) any later version.
59 This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY
60 WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A
61 PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.