Deleting A File Doesn't Mean
It's Deleted Forever So How Do You Securely Erase
Data From A Computer?
|Deleted files can be
It is a common
misconception of PC users that once they have dropped a file
into the recycle bin and emptied it that that is it, the
file is gone for good.
About the Author:
All that happens when you erase a file by either deleting it
or putting it into the trash, is that Windows has been told
not to recognize the file so you do not see it when you open
a folder or your desktop. In fact, it is not erased at all,
the data is still there on your hard drive and it will
remain there until the information is over written by some
other file or data. Knowing where to look will also lead a
snooper to those places in the Windows operating system that
a casual user would not normally know about or think to look
such as temporary documents or temporary internet files and
The issue is how do we get rid of files and information that
allows you to have a degree of confidence and security that
the data has been erased forever?
This becomes particularly acute when you are looking at
recycling or trashing an old computer as many people are
currently doing with the Windows Vista upgrading that is
happening at the moment. Handing over a PC to the local
school, charity or selling it on becomes fraught if you have
data lurking their that can easily be recovered by a free
file recovery program downloaded from the hundreds freely
available on the internet. Imagine your credit card
information, banking passwords or personal information such
as family photographs being recovered in a matter of seconds
from your machine?
Your first stop is the internet and simply putting file
recovery freeware as a search string in your search engine
will throw up a lot of utilities that you can feely use.
PCInspector is a good example but there are many more, and
here is an overview of the features you can expect.
PCInspector will recover deleted files of a wide variety and
not just Windows files such as Word, PowerPoint or Excel.
You can recover html, xhtml, gif, avi, mp3 files and many
Moving onto the commercially available software, Stompsoft
have a good range of file recovery software as well as an
extremely good file erase package that has been certified to
meet the US Department of Defense sanitation standard for
data erasure. Typically, the commercial software tends to
retail at around the $20-$30 mark but if you are serious
about your PC security this is a small price to pay.
Commercial software does tend to offer more features than
freeware and to be frank, the support you get with
commercial software does tend to make the price worthwhile
as in many cases you will be looking to use a file delete
utility prior to ridding yourself of the PC. Once the
machine has gone you are not going to get the chance to go
back and repeat a file erase utility in this instance so you
need to get it right the first time.
Sam Miller, wipe-pc
Notes from SecureAction:
File Wiping Software Master Shredder can securely delete
your files using 18 algorithms exceeding the specifications of
the U.S. Department of Defense to stop software and hardware