In the modern technological world, our devices have become a hub for private information. Aside from any personal data entered online, most people have taken to storing important files on their PC or laptop. These may also be backed up to the cloud, but the likes of family photos and bank statements are private for a reason.

But what happens when you go to sell the device they’re stored on? A factory reset says it wipes all the files from your system, but that might not be enough. Any that are not properly deleted may be recoverable by future owners, potentially giving a stranger access to your private data.

So, how do you make sure all these files are securely removed? This is where a File Shredder comes in – it permanently deletes the files from your PC and ensures they can never be recovered. The one available within Avira Free Security is an excellent option, especially as it’s bundled with a range of security, privacy, and performance tools.

Chief among these is antivirus, an indispensable weapon in the fight against malware.  Avira users benefit from real-time protection, meaning every new file is thoroughly checked for any potential threats. You can then choose from three in-depth virus scans. The ‘Quick scan’ offers a quick and easy way to inspect the most vulnerable areas of your PC, while a ‘Full scan’ checks the entire device. Both can be scheduled to automatically run in the background, meaning you stay protected without even having to think about it. However, there’s still a ‘Custom scan’ to check specific files you’re concerned about.

This flexibility is excellent, but can the free antivirus offered by Avira really provide comprehensive protection? Independent research leaves us in no doubt. It has a total accuracy rating of 97% according to SE Labs, while AV-Test certifies it as a ‘Top Product’.

However, while it is a rare occurrence, there may still be files identified as malware that you want to keep. Instead of being deleted immediately, these can be reviewed in Avira via the dedicated ‘Quarantine’ section. This is separate from the rest of your PC, with files encrypted to ensure they can no longer cause damage.

Another crucial online tool is a password manager – Avira has one built right into the Free Security app. This allows you to generate unique, hard-to-guess passwords for all your accounts, all of which are securely stored and accessible with just one master password. This makes it a great solution for all your devices. As well as the section within the Free Security desktop app, Avira also has dedicated password manager apps for Android and iOS, as well as extensions for all the major web browsers.

Being tracked online is another key concern, but Avira has the tools to fight it. A built-in VPN encrypts the connection between your device and a server on the internet, hiding your IP address and making it much harder for anyone to know what you’re up to.

Once you’ve protected your PC and prioritised your privacy online, you’ll probably want to speed it up too. Avira Free Security’s PC Cleaner (known as Junk Cleaner on Mac) is the perfect place to start, allowing you to remove unnecessary files that are taking up space on your hard drive. If you’re running anywhere near capacity, this could lead to a useful performance boost.

That’s a comprehensive set of security features by anyone’s definition, but there’s even more if you’d like to sign up to Avira Prime. This takes your protection to the next level via a host of additional features, all of which are available on up to 25 devices.

It extends the malware protection to the web, email clients and even ransomware, while USB drives are also scanned to ensure they don’t tamper with your PC. The 500MB monthly VPN limit is removed, allowing you to browse privately without any limits.

The Windows app also has a privacy optimisation tool, allowing you to quickly add extra layers of security to your digital life. On Mac, a cookie cleaner can be set up to remove any trackers that advertisers may have installed on your device. Some of the compatible Avira platforms also have options to uninstall unwanted apps and manage those that open at startup.

Whether you opt for Prime or not, Avira is a great way to permanently delete personal files, especially as the File Shredder is bundled with so many other great features. The company is also committed to never selling user data, so there’s really no catch to Avira Free Security – it’s an excellent service.

Get Free Security now from the Avira website.