Permanent data deletion is essential to protect your privacy, especially when you are about to sell your PC to someone else. Even if you empty the Recycle Bin, the data is still on your hard disk, it's just hidden from the operating system. This article reviews some effective ways to permanently delete files on Windows.
The file that you delete on Windows is not actually deleted. It is simply moved to certain sectors of the hard drive, hidden from the operating system. This is the case even if you empty the Recycle Bin. Unless there is no new data written on those certain sectors where the deleted file exists, there is a chance of data recovery.
However, if those sectors of the hard disk are overwritten with new data, then the chances of undeleting that file become very low. Although there are certain data recovery tools that can reconstruct files even after the data has been overwritten, the chances of that happening are very low.
By default, anything you delete on your Windows PC gets moved to the Recycle Bin. From there, you can restore the deleted files. If you want to permanently delete your files, then you will need to configure Recycle Bin via its Properties section. Follow these instructions:
1. Right-click on the Recycle Bin from your desktop.
2. Click on Properties and then choose the drive for which you want to delete the data permanently.
3. After selecting the drive, mark the option called "Don't move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted."
4. Next, click the Apply button and then click OK to save the settings.
After configuring the Recycle Bin via the above steps, you will be able to permanently delete your files from that certain drive. You can change this setting any time you want via the Properties section of Recycle Bin.
There is another way to delete data permanently on Windows. There is a built-in secure deletion tool of Windows known as Cipher. This tool allows you to delete your data permanently but you will need to configure it first. Configuring Cipher may be a bit challenging because the tool does not have a graphical interface. Follow these instructions:
1. Launch PowerShell on your Windows via the Start menu.
2. Once it is launched, input this command: cipher /w:C:
3. This will securely overwrite all the deallocated data on the C: drive of your computer. Your existing data will stay untouched and only the deleted files will be erased.
When inputting command, you can replace the letter C with the letter of the drive that you want to cipher and it will erase the deleted files from it. The process can take a very long time. If you want to delete data in a certain folder, then simply input its path in the command in step 2.
Eraser is a powerful tool that you can use to permanently erase sensitive data. Data erased via this tool cannot be recovered. The tool does this by overwriting the deleted data on the certain sectors of the hard drive where it is stored. Follow these instructions to permanently delete desired data with Eraser:
1. Install Eraser on your Windows PC.
2. Once the software is installed, you can use it to permanently erase your desired data via the Windows Explorer. To do this, launch Windows Explorer and navigate to the file you want to permanently delete.
3. Right-click on the file and navigate to Eraser, then click on Erase option.
4. On the pop-up dialog box, click Yes to confirm your action. The file will be deleted permanently.
Alternatively, you can also launch the Eraser tool and permanently erase your desired files via it's interface as well.
If you want to check whether the file is deleted permanently, then it is recommended that you use a third-party tool iMyFone AnyRecover. AnyRecover is a reliable data recovery tool that you can use to scan your computer to look for deleted files. So, by using this tool you can easily check if the file you have deleted via the above methods is deleted permanently.
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Steps to Check if the File is Deleted Permanently
Step 1. Run iMyFone AnyRecover on your Windows PC. And then choose the “Recycle Bin” option.
Step 2. Click on “Start” button to run scanning process. The program will start an all-round scan on your Recycle Bin.
Step 3. Once the scan is completed, you will see the list of lost files. If the file is permanently deleted, then it won't be shown on that list. On the other hand, if the file is displayed on the list, then it means it is not permanently deleted. To get your files back, hit the "Recover" button.
By Simon Marcus , to Deleted Files Recovery
Posted on Apr 08, 2019 ( Updated: May 29, 2020 )