01 Sep

How to Properly Delete Files on your Computer

You are typing along and you make a mistake. The first button you reach for on your keyboard is the delete key. It’s almost like a digital white out and it has saved countless mistakes over the years.

4059154289_5799d91e8f_zDelete key is used in multiple places on the computer. It is not just for a misspelled word, but it can also be used to delete a file, erase a picture that is no longer needed, and many, many more. Yes, the delete key is used quite frequently.

But did you know, that when you delete a picture or a file, it’s not really gone and lost forever? That’s right. Just because you hit that delete key, it does not delete the file permanently, but instead, it is dropped into the recycling bin.

Now this is a very good thing. If you accidently hit delete on something that you did not want to delete, you can always go into your recycling bin and find the file and restore it to its original location. A breath of relief for sure!

Many savvy computer users know to clean out their recycling bin on a regular basis by using none other than….the delete key! Yes, it can be deleted from the recycle bin by using the delete key. Most operating systems will warn you when you are about to delete a file and let you know that you are about to permanently delete a file. Then you have to agree to permanently delete that file.

But is it really gone forever?

There is a big difference between deleting a file, File Shredding, and Disk Wiping. Even though you use the delete key, the file or information is not totally annihilated, it is still on the disk. In effect, all that the delete key does is to remove the location or ‘address’ of the file. Basically, that just means that it frees up that particular portion of the disc so that more data can be used in the same space. Keep in mind, that if that same area on the disc is used several times (three – four times) then the original data will permanently disappear. But that happens only after more information is written in the same space, not simply because the delete key was pressed.

Wipe Disc or File Shredding is more of a permanent solution. Think of it like shredding a piece of paper. Sure, there are still bits of paper left around once you shred it and yes, theoretically you could put it back together, but that alone would be next to impossible and take a ton of patience.

When you find it’s necessary to destroy the data completely and all traces of it, you want to perform a “wipe disc’. The only real way to do this is by using a File Shredding software. You will find that there are a lot of good ‘Wipe Disc” software available on the market and they are the best way to ensure the data is gone forever.

This software works by completely overwriting all of the data on the space on the disk several times with gibberish and nonsense. Using this method will make the original data unrecoverable.

One thing to remember though, File Shredding is a great ‘wipe disc’ program but it does have its limitations. Make sure you do your homework in looking at the software and make sure that it is what you need. If you know that you are going to use the File Shredding software, it may be a good idea to wait to do a Defrag until after the information is permanently written over or you could have bits of the information spread throughout your hard drive.

Disk Wipe is the only way to be 100% sure that all of the data and information is completely gone.