How to 'Bleach' Your Hard Drive Like Hillary Clinton. In the bottom right corner is a Your Password Sucks logo in a Daily Dot newsletter web_crawlr font.

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Y0ur P@ssw0rd S*cks: How to ‘bleach’ your hard drive like Hillary Clinton

You don't actually have to use bleach.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Apr 2, 2024   Updated on Apr 2, 2024, 11:16 pm CDT

Y0ur P@ssw0rd S*cks is a bi-weekly column that answers the most pressing internet security questions web_crawlr readers have to make sure they can navigate the ‘net safely. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

If you’ve paid any attention to U.S. politics over the last decade, you’ve undoubtedly heard former President Donald Trump accusing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “bleaching” her hard drive.

In fact, just in mid-March, Trump gave an interview in which he alleged that Clinton had poured “acid that will destroy everything within ten miles” on her personal email server that she used for official government business.

As you may remember, the years-long email fiasco led the FBI to clear Clinton of wrongdoing around the time of the 2016 presidential election, although well over 2,000 emails were later retrospectively determined to contain information ranging from “Secret” to “Top Secret.”

At that time, Trump made similar statements that appeared to suggest that he believed Clinton had used chemicals to destroy her private email server.

“You delete 33,000 emails. And then you acid wash them, or bleach them, as you would say—a very expensive process,” Trump said.

So what in the world is actually going on? As you are likely aware, Trump has absolutely no idea what he is saying, despite having eight years to learn. What Clinton is alleged to have used is “BleachBit,” a free software program that erases data.

How to use BleachBit

Aside from helping you clean up space on your computer’s hard drive by deleting browser cookies, Internet history, and temporary files, BleachBit can also be used to overwrite free disk space to hide previously deleted files.

Of course, using such software on any device under investigation by law enforcement would certainly be illegal. But what if you are looking to sell an old computer and want to ensure that no one can use forensic software to recover deleted files? That’s where BleachBit might come in handy.

While this is not a paid plug or endorsement of BleachBit, it is an easy-to-use program that is free. So, in the spirit of following in the footsteps of our wonderful political overlords, it wouldn’t hurt to know how to clear up our data as well.

For starters, the software is available for the Linux and Windows operating systems. Sorry Mac people. You can download it on BleachBit’s website.

Once installed, the instructions are quite self-explanatory. A drop-down menu on the left side of the program lists the different types of data that can be cleaned. Make sure to select the hard drive you want to work on. Are you simply looking to clear up space on your running computer or using BleachBit to completely wipe an external hard drive?

From there, all you have to do is click “Clean.” It’s so easy that even Trump himself could probably do it.

So, if you feel like announcing during your next family gathering that you “acid-washed” your hard drive like Clinton, give BleachBit a whirl.

And don’t forget, you can send your tech questions to be answered in the next Your Password Sucks column.

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*First Published: Apr 2, 2024, 6:00 am CDT