If you share your laptop with others, or are simply cautious and don't want to run the risk of anyone seeing the websites you've visited or the applications you've used recently, then Window Washer 6.5 (£30 inc. VAT) is just the tool.
Removing traces of your presence is nothing new, as even Internet Explorer and Firefox now have similar options. But Window Washer works by clearing out the cache and temporary files and then overwrites the space used by them on the hard drive, so even file recovery software can't locate the files.
This latest version of the software is fully Windows Vista-compliant and offers support for an increased number of third-party applications. Which takes support up to nearly 400. This support comes into play when you load the application, as it will ask whether you want all traces of recently used programs to be wiped.
The interface is simple and clean and, in keeping with the name, the controls use a washing analogy to perform the tasks. So you don't simply clean up your hard drive, it's washed. To add a little more strength to this, you can choose to add 'bleach', which means your hard drive will be written over multiple times, so the files Window Washer has deleted are thoroughly untraceable.
Perhaps the real benefit of this program is that it can also be used to reclaim hard drive space. On our first pass, without bleach, the system freed up over 450MB of files, which is quite astonishing and shows how versatile the program is. If you've recently defragged your hard drive, you should also see an even better improvement.
It's not all-good news, as the more you want to hide the traces of your activity, the more labour-intensive the application becomes to run. But if you share a laptop with others and don't want them finding out what you've been up to, this really is a tool you need to invest in.