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Overwrite: an application to prevent recovering information from a hard disk

When we format an entire disk or partition we know that the data that is there is recoverable. This can be very useful, but what if we are sure we want to recover them? and if someone takes our computer and starts recovering them? as you can read, this poses a danger to the privacy of our data. Luckily, there is an application called overwrite that allows us to avoid this situation. Today we will tell you about it.

Overwrite is an application written in the C language that simply overwrites with 1, 0 or random data the empty space of a disk. This helps prevent other programs from recovering information from that empty space. This puts your privacy at risk.

Similarly, Overwrite is an open-source application, released under the GPL license. Therefore there will be no problems with the use and dissemination of the application. On the other hand, it is multiplatform and in a single download, we will have all the binaries available with versions for Linux or Windows.

Also, the application has some options to customize its use, such as the amount of data and files to overwrite.

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So, let us install it and use it.

Install Overwrite on any Linux distribution

The application comes with compiled binaries so we can work as soon as we download it. However, make sure you have the wget and unzip packages installed.

For Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and derivatives:

:~$ sudo apt install wget unzip

In the case of Fedora, CentOS 8, RHEL 8, Oracle Linux 8 and derivatives:

:~$ sudo dnf install wget unzip

Finally, in the case of OpenSUSE, it would be enough to use the following command:

:~$ sudo zypper in wget unzip

Once they are installed, we can start downloading overwrite from github:

:~$ wget -c https://github.com/ivoprogram/overwrite/releases/download/ver1.1-2019-10-06/overwrite-bin-ver1.1-2019-10-06.zip
1.- Downloading Overwrite on Linux
1.- Downloading Overwrite on Linux

Once the download has finished, we will have to decompress it using unzip. To do this, use the following command:

:~$ unzip overwrite-bin-ver1.1-2019-10-06.zip

Remember, be aware of the downloaded version.

2.- Decompressing the program
2.- Decompressing the program

To make the job easier, I will rename the uncompressed folder by a name easier to remember.

:~$ mv [overwrite_folder_name] overwrite

Also, you can check the contents of the folder with the command ls.

:~$ cd overwrite
:~$ ls
3.- using the ls command to check the content of the folder
3.- using the ls command to check the content of the folder

As you can see, all 32-bit and 64-bit Linux binaries and Windows binaries are available. However, you have to choose the corresponding binary according to your system and make it executable. In my case, my system is 64 bits.

:~$ chmod +x overwrite-linux-x86-64

And we will be able to use it.

First, it is a good idea to start with the program help.

:~$ ./overwrite-linux-x86-64 -h
4.- Overwrite help
4.- Overwrite help

I added a new hard drive and mounted it on /media and used this example command.

:~$ sudo ./overwrite-linux-x86-64 -rand -block:512 -files:10 -data:10mb -path:/media
5.- Using Overwrite on Linux
5.- Using Overwrite on Linux

In this case, the command is executed as the root user. It uses 10mb random data and overwrites 10 files in blocks of 512. Finally, the path where the file system is mounted is specified.

Finally, if you want to use overwrite comfortably, rename the binary and move it to /usr/bin.


Overwrite is a very lightweight program that can help us protect our data even more from third parties. Its installation and use is within reach of many people for its ease and quality of work. Best of all we can install it on all Linux distributions without problems.

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