We have come to use our PCs and laptops for almost every aspect of our lives. From our daily routine to keeping track of important personal information, there is a ton of sensitive data stored on our hard drive. This leads many individuals to look for ways to permanently delete files. When searching for different methods for how to permanently delete files, users need to be able to discern the difference between deleting a file and rendering it unreadable.
Deleting vs. Erasing
Ironically both descriptions are basically erroneous. When the average user thinks of deleting files, they think of a recycle bin then going into the recycle bin and deleting the files from there. The problem is that this does not delete files permanently. To permanently delete files from a hard drive, you need to overwrite the data contained in the files. Unless the software you are using replaces the “deleted” file’s data with new data, the file hasn’t been deleted.
How to permanently delete files
As stated, to permanently delete files you need to overwrite the data contained in the file. To better understand this, it is imperative that users understand that when you press “delete” on your keyboard, you are only letting the operating system tag the space used for the file to be available to be overwritten. The file is not permanently deleted until the data of the file is overwritten with new data and the old data rendered unrecoverable.
Using file deleting software
The best answer on how to permanently delete files from computer is to use hard drive erasure software. One of the reasons this software is so helpful is because it allows the user to specify the data that will be deleted by file type, location or associated activity, and then further specify the degree to which the data will be overwritten with new data.
Important reasons you should permanently delete files
- Permanently remove quarantined virus files so they can’t accidentally be set free to wreak havoc on your computer
- To protect important financial information
- To properly remove corrupted registry files that have been fixed
- Keep emails out of the hands of those that they weren’t intended for
- Ensure your browsing history stays private
- To stay compliant with corporate and other regulatory statutes for the security and destruction of private information
- Permanently remove P2P sharing files, trackers, etc.
Make it a habit
No matter what you do on your computer, your operating system is always writing files to keep track of what you’re doing – where you’ve visited, make backup copies, etc. You need to incorporate a regular file deletion routine to ensure that in the event of unforeseen circumstances, your laptop or PC is stolen, the amount of sensitive information is as small as possible.
The best way to permanently delete files
Whenever the question of how to permanently delete file comes up, we advise users to find a software solution that is easy to use, thorough, and adheres to high standards as far as file deletion. Generally a good measure is to ensure that whatever software you are using complies with the U.S. Department of Defense guidelines for overwriting data. Our favorite software can exceed this requirement by overwriting files 7 times rendering them irrecoverable by any commercially available means. This same software suite is also easy to use with a basic interface that lets users quickly select the type of files and level of deletion. Because of the unique blend of ease of use and powerful deletion, this software has remained our favorite recommendation for file deletion.