Deleting PDF Files From Temp Automatically

Posted on 2012-08-28
Last Modified: 2012-08-28
Is there a setting you can flip in a PDF that it would delete itself after a certain time frame from a temp directory after it was downloaded?

We are worried about users downloading documents with sensitive information on them (from MAC, PC, etc) to the download directory on a public computer and then leaving them for others to view later.
Question by:dcrowley_01
    LVL 34

    Accepted Solution

    LVL 52

    Assisted Solution

    by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
    I think all you can do is add a password or drm but searching for cracks for either seems like everybody has a solution to crack the password or remove drm from a pdf.
    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    A file cannot delete itself. And even if there were an option possible in a file that would cause Acrobat reader to delete the file upon closing, this could easily be circumvented (e.g. by setting the file to read-only before opening it or by simply using a non-Adobe pdf viewer that might not obey the setting).
    Nor can you enforce that the downloading software keeps any promise to really delete a file soon.
    Big efforts have been made for videos to be only viewable, but not downloadable in flash-based plugins. However, there are tools available that more or less circumvent this as well.
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    The best solution is to avoid downloading documents with sensitive information on them to a public computer. If that absolutely cannot be avoided then the user must have the browser delete all temporary files before leaving the computer.

    As others have said, there is no way to accomplish this automatically (at least with current browsers).

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks, the Michael Best post was great and will do what we need. Although the other comments about how difficult security is to achieve are worth noting as well.

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