How do I delete deleted files?

Placing a file in the trash and then deleting it can be a good way to get rid of a file, the truth is that the file is still there. The idea that the file is completely gone is a common misconception, but savvy computer users are realizing that deleting a file doesn’t actually do any of that. It just hides the file from the computer. For those who find this disconcerting, there are several ways to completely erase deleted files.

Physically destroying a hard drive is one way to ensure that your files are not recoverable.

One of the easiest ways to erase deleted files is to format your hard drive. Usually this will completely clean the system, and even programs normally used to recover deleted files will not be able to locate them. This is one of the most drastic ways to get rid of files, but it usually works.

There are several ways to more completely erase “deleted” files.

Another way to erase files that have been deleted is to use a data wipe program. There are two types of data erasers. Some are used for individual files. Others are used for the entire hard drive. Which option is chosen is usually up to the user, but not all software products will do both. Users should understand what is the difference in software products before purchasing them. Otherwise, there is a good chance that the consumer will be disappointed with the product.

The software that performs a complete data wipe is very similar to formatting the hard drive. This will completely erase the deleted files, along with all other files on the computer. Those who use this option should be aware of this and ensure that all important files are backed up. This is the only way to fully recover everything you want after the software has finished its job.

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Other types of software used to erase deleted files can only be used for individual files. This is probably the situation most computer users prefer. This will keep all other files on the machine and prevent the user from having to reinstall all the desired software products on the computer. This type of software is sometimes called a data shredder and basically writes random data to the file multiple times. The more times a file is overwritten, the more difficult it is to recover the original information.

For those who are especially concerned about sensitive information, it should be noted that there is really no way to guarantee any method used to erase deleted files. There can always be a chance that some data will remain on the hard drive in recoverable form, especially since technology is always changing on both sides of the equation. Aside from physically destroying the hard drive and installing new hardware, you can still recover something if enough time and effort is put into the task. However, in most cases, data destruction programs will do an adequate job of getting rid of junk files, unless the person looking for them is very well trained.

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