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Find hidden data on your computer with PCFerret

09 March 2015, Mike Williams

PCFerretHow well do you know your PC, the data it holds, how it’s really being used by others? PCFerret is a freeware tool for Windows Vista and later which claims it can help you find out.

Despite the intriguing pitch, PCFerret opens with a relatively ordinary system information report. It covers the core details you’d expect – hardware, network, drive statistics, user accounts etc – and can be saved to HTML for easy sharing, but it can’t compete with the more specialist competition.

The “Browser Media” tool is more interesting, scanning your browser caches (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera. Safari, Sea Monkey) for images or movies, then displaying thumbnails of the results. Could be useful for checking what others are viewing online.

A similar “Cached URLs” module checks your browser caches, and raises alerts for any URLs which contain suspect keywords. We found this raised lots of false alarms (hint: “pov” isn’t just used in porn) but you can at least customise the keyword list, hopefully making it more accurate.


Find disguised movies, images, encrypted containers, more

The “Find Files By Type” function is a highlight, scanning your PC and reporting on files whose content doesn’t match their file extension. If someone has downloaded videos and renamed them to have a ZIP or ISO extension, say, this module should raise the alert. You could use it to detect encrypted containers, and for many other purposes, for example detecting malicious executable code which has been disguised as something else.

There’s a similar security tool in the program’s “ADS Selection” feature, which scans your system to report on files with alternate data streams.

Bonus extras include a secure password creator, a file hash generator, a Tor Browser detector, and a module for managing Windows reboot operations (deleting, moving or renaming files when your system restarts).

PCFerret is an odd mix of features. It feels like the developer knows most of the individual modules aren’t quite as good as the best of the freeware competition, but instead of improving them, he’s just bolted on something else.

But, we still think it’s worth downloading for the “Find Files By Type” module alone. This gives you much more control than similar programs, and makes it easy to find archives, images, hidden scripts, Registry files and more.

PCFerret is sure to have other features you’ll use, too – like the ability to have a locked file deleted when your PC next restarts – and as the program is also no-strings free, it’s safe to spend a few minutes checking it out for yourself.

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