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Solutions: Looking for a Norton DoD equivalent

Norton had a utility that allowed me to wipe only the free space on the hard drive. It also allowed me to wipe selected files if I chose to. They offered a simple wipe using two hexadecimal characters and a government wipe called DoD 5220.22-M (a Department of Defense specification for securely wiping hard drives). I don't want to subscribe to Norton anymore since I am using Security Essentials and Malwarebytes to keep my machine clean. I don't need to wipe the entire hard drive, but I do want to make certain that there are no leftover files and fragments from previous programs, data deletions, etc., that could cause a problem later. Is there an equivalent utility that I can use, that is free, and is just as effective as the DoD specification?

What used to be known as Norton Wipedisk was renamed to Wipeinfo. While there are several free disk erase programs (I usually recommend "Darik's Boot And Nuke" at, I was not able to come up with a free version of a DoD 5220.22-M-compliant free space cleaner (at least not one that I could trust). There are many you can purchase after a "free" trial period. Just Google "DoD 5220.22-M windows' and you'll be presented with a list of choices. One that looked interesting to me was Active@KillDisk from But I have not tried that particular program, and this is not an official recommendation.

I am attempting to transfer my digital photos to a thumb drive, and even before I have used up half of the disk, I get this message:

"ReadyBoost is not enabled because the service responsible for ReadyBoost(Sysmain) has been turned off on this computer. An administrator can turn the Sysmain service back on." I am the administrator. How do I enable Sysmain?

Try this: Go to Control Panel, System and Security, Administrative Tool and double-click to open Services. Search for the Superfetch entry and double-click on it. Now change the start type to "automatic" and click on start. The service now starts and you should be able get by the ReadyBoost message.

Last year I purchased an HP Pavilion laptop with Windows 7. Periodically, when I send a document to my printer (HP 5610 All-in-One), nothing happens. When I open active printers it says there is a document in the queue. When I open the printer troubleshooting, it states there is no printer attached. The only way I have been able to restore the function is to shut down and then reboot.

That tells me we can eliminate any cable issues. It could be software, it could be the USB port on the PC, and it could be a faulty printed circuit board on the printer itself. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the latest printer drivers. You can also try using a different USB port. Finally, we're left with the printer itself and there is not much you can do about that except to call HP.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Looking for a Norton DoD equivalent 07/03/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 3, 2011 4:30am]
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