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Where Does Data Go When It Is Deleted?

Deleted data is still accessible if the files aren't overwritten by new information.

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When you don’t need a file to clutter up your device anymore, you simply drag it to the recycle bin on a desktop or tap the “delete” option on your phone. However, just because that file may not show up anymore, doesn’t mean it’s truly gone. Deleted data won’t be visible in your folders or icons but is still on your device, only accessible to a professional data recovery company. 

Data Deletion Process

Technology users delete data for a number of reasons. Either they don’t need the file anymore, want to free up space on their device, or in some cases people delete accidentally. Deletion does not mean completely removed from your hard drive or memory card. It means that the file name and space that it took up on the device are removed. Essentially, the computer or phone believes that the file no longer exists because the path to finding it is destroyed. 

When this happens, the block of space the file once held is marked in the device as “free.” Next time a file is downloaded or a message saved, the empty space left by your deleted file will be used to store the new information coming in. A device doesn’t actually “delete” your data because the process is lengthy and takes a lot of computing power. By simply removing the file name and opening the space for newly written data, the process only takes a matter of seconds.

An important tip to note is that moving a file to the recycle bin does not delete the information. All files will continue to take up space on your device until the bin is emptied, at which time data is considered “deleted” until overwritten.

Permanently Deleting Sensitive Information

In some cases, people may want to make sure that information is completely inaccessible before disposing of a computer, recycling it, or selling it. Reformatting a hard drive may not be enough as data may still be accessible with the proper tools and knowledgeable engineers. Overwriting is the only way to achieve this goal. 

Some technology users may opt for a “low level format” utility that overwrites the data with zeros and other “garbage” information that is useless to any user. Many companies may also offer a secure deletion service where your information is completely removed from a device before it is disposed of. The growing need for a secure deletion and disposal service has resulted in the creation of new technology like the Degausser machine.

This machine eliminates the magnetic fields on tapes and disk media to remove data from hard drives and the like. The shift in the magnetic domain on the drive as it pases through the machine makes it unreadable and unrecoverable. Once devices are stripped of their files, companies may securely dispose of it, or recycle the parts for other uses.

Recovering Deleted Data

When users accidentally delete photos, videos, or documents, their first instinct may be to use recovery software to retrieve what their phone or computer considers to be lost. This action is an irreversible mistake that will overwrite your erased files with the downloaded software. The power it takes to download and run software will take up the free space left by the erased information. 

In order for a data recovery company to retrieve files that were accidentally deleted, a user must turn off their device immediately after the deletion occurs. This will prevent any possibility of overwriting of your files and the data will remain on your device’s hard drive or memory card. At Secure Data Recovery, our experienced engineers have successfully recovered information from all media and operating systems after accidental deletion.

Our secure process begins by imaging your device in a certified secure environment to work from a copy of your data. This preserves your media in its original condition. We then extract any data we are able to access to our secure storage servers. Our proprietary tools and custom software allow us to recover erased information without overwriting or damaging the files. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to retrieve your deleted information today. 

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