New subscriber David wrote to ask if deleting a file really removed it from the hard drive.
I am new to your emails. Enjoy. My question is this:
I routinely delete personal files from time to time.
Someone told me that deleting files do not actually clean off the hard drive, the "system”" simply puts a character in the front of the name so that it does not show; folks (with knowledge) can go in and find all the deleted files and reconstruct.
I wrote back to David to tell him that, yes, it sure is true that the files are not really deleted.
However, his reference to "folks (with knowledge) can go in and find all the deleted files and reconstruct" really understates the issue.
There are lots of programs available to find and recover accidentally deleted files. THese will automatically search the specified drive and identify all the files that they can recover. Some will even report on files they might be able to recover, or recover in part, and rate the likelihood of recovery.
The program I like best is "Recuva Portable" from Piriform, which is free.
There are other programs that have features to "wipe" files by overwriting them multiple times with different values, and ultimately deleting them. I use Moo0 Fileshredder for that purpose.
Some other programs have the ability to wipe blank hard drive space (takes a long time) or to wipe entire drives (again, takes a long, long time). An example of the drive wiping program is DBan — Darik’s Boot And Nuke (www.dban.org, free, open-source).
If you don’t have a program that will wipe free space, there’s a trick you can do using a program that wipes files or directories.
Create a directory to be wiped. Fill it will files to fill up almost all the hard drive space. Then, use a program that wipes individual files to wipe a couple files (to give Windows some more room to work), and then to wipe the rest of the directory.