Maybe you don’t realize it, but if you delete a file and you empty your recycle bin after, the file doesn’t really disappear from your hard disk.
What do you have to do to remove private files permanently from your computer, for example when you give away or sell your pc?
Retreive Deleted Files From Your Hard Disc
Because deleted files don’t really dissapear from your pc, it is also possible to retrieve a file completely or partly without any problems, as long as a removed file on your pc isn’t overwritten by other data.
With a free program like Recuva you can easily do it yourself.
Delete Files Thoroughly From Your Hard Disc
To delete files permanently from your pc, you have to overwrite them multiple times with meaningless data.
For this you use a so called “file shredder” -program like File Shredder or Eraser.
You select the files and or folders which you want to erase and how many times they have to be overwritten.
Tip: Overwriting them three times is enough (more times can lead to needless wastage). Shredding takes a bit longer than deleting in the normal way, so it’s better to not delete every file in this way.
You can also systematically (for example once a week) overwrite all free space which is created on your hard disk by files which are deleted. In this way everything you erased that week get’s permanently shredded.
This is possible with the option “Shred Free Disk Space” in File Shredder or with CCleaner by going to Tools, Drive Wiper, option Free Space Only .
Your hard disk will be working very hardly now.
If you dispose of your pc and want to absolutely prevent that someone retrieves any of your data, you can clean up your hard disk with a special program, DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke)
Delete Files Thoroughly From Your SSD
Maybe you don’t have just a normal hard disk, but also a SSD (Solid State Drive) in your computer.
A SSD uses flash memory and works differently in comparison to a normal hard disk.
Also on an SSD, a file doesn’t get removed permanently when you delete it, so that with, for example Recuva, the file can be found back for a certain amount of time.
It is of no use to overwrite the file with a file shredder here though, because the SSD-hardware decides where the writing operations will be. Because of this you maybe aren’t even erasing the memory blocks which you want to erase.
On top of that the additional writing operations create needless wastage on your SSD. So never use it on your SSD!
The only way to clean up a SSD completely is by using the special software which is supplied with your disk.
For Samsung-SSDs there is Samsung Magician, for Intel-SSDs the Intel SSD Toolbox and for Sandisk-SSDs the SanDisk SSD Toolkit.
A recent study has shown however that even those tools can’t always be trusted and leave traces data.
If you really want to prevent that someone get’s access to the files on your SSD, you have no other choice than encrypting the SSD completely.
If you have Windows 8(.1) Pro or Enterprise, you can do it with the in-build encryptingpower of BitLocker.
BitLocker is also available for Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise. If you operate another Windows-version you can use DiskCryptor for the same thing.
DiskCryptor however doesn’t work well yet on Windows 8.
Hope this helps keeping your data save.
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Marcelon 01 Dec 2015
Rebekka Deforceon 15 Dec 2015