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How to Securely Delete Files from Your Device

Permanently deleting files may require the use of software or other techniques to ensure your information isn't accessible.

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Does this sound familiar? You are sitting at your computer, going through folders you have forgotten about, coming across photos that have long since been printed out and word documents from your time in school several years ago. We’ve all been in a position where it was time to delete old files to make room on our computer’s hard drive and keep things moving faster. 

The problem is, simply dragging those files to the Recycle Bin isn’t going to permanently delete your files to give you the space you need. In some cases, the way you delete files may not guarantee that they can’t be accessed by someone else if you were to get rid of your computer. We will outline how to securely delete files to optimize your computer performance and keep your information safe.

Permanently Deleting Data

When a file is sent to the Recycle Bin, or “Trash” on an iOS device, it will continue to occupy space on your hard drive until you empty the bin. Even after that action, the files will still be accessible until new data overwrites their place on the hard drive. However, a professional data recovery company can still retrieve files that were overwritten with the proper tools and skilled engineers.

To completely erase any deleted data, tech experts recommend using a third-party deletion or shredding tool. Some of these tools are specifically designed for Windows machines as those devices use mechanical drives. Using software such as File Shredder, Eraser, or SDelete will all work to overwrite the files on your device multiple times, sometimes up to more than 35 overwrites to ensure the data you want to be deleted is completely gone.

These programs are free and generally easy-to-use on Windows and earlier macOS devices. However, when it comes to SSDs that are found in many modern computers, the deletion process differs. On some Mac devices, you can simply overwrite all the files in the trash with junk data by choosing the “Secure Empty Trash” option.

This is not an option for some newer models, which is why SSD users must encrypt their disk after deleting files. The encryption means a user will have to use a secure and complex username and password, without which an unauthorized user cannot access your computer and the files within, deleted or otherwise. Users can also fully reinstall their operating system to wipe all data that was present before.

Choose Secure Disposal

There are several reasons people may want to delete the files off of their devices, whether it be because they plan to sell their computer to someone else, or the drive is no longer useful to them and they plan to throw it out. Secure Data Recovery provides secure media disposal and destruction services for all media types. Sometimes after we provide customers with data recovery services for their damaged drives, they don’t want their media back because they have already received the files they wanted.

In this case, we also offer secure disposal and deletion for their devices to ensure that even though it is damaged, no one will be able to potentially access the information on it. Sometimes this process includes drilling holes in the device or breaking components with a hammer. Secure Data Recovery is also looking into getting a Degausser machine, which uses powerful magnets to clear a device of any data. 

Whether you need data recovery services or just need to securely delete your files, Secure Data Recovery can help. Call our customer service team to learn more about our secure process for retrieving and disposing of data at 1-800-388-1266. 

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