Even if you empty the Windows Trash, it’s not enough. We will tell you how to delete files without leaving a chance for their recovery.

Many novice users think that the complete removal of files from the system is due to emptying the desktop’s recycling bin. However, it is not. Information that was erased using standard Windows tools is marked as residual and does not appear. It can be quickly restored using special utilities as long as it has not been overwritten with other data. For complete removal without the possibility of recovery, additional manipulations are required.

What is it for?

The need for permanent disposal mainly arises in commercial and government structures. The value of some information in large organizations is so high that its leakage can lead to severe economic and confidential problems. Not to mention the compromising data of media personalities.

But even an ordinary user will not hurt to delete already deleted files from the media completely. For example, if you sell a computer on the secondary market and don’t want the future owner to dig up your information. 

Cleaning up “tails” will also be relevant for computer clubs, offices, and just the only PCs in the family. It just so happens that it is better not to leave your digital footprint anywhere in the modern world.

Ways to completely delete data

Using an SSD

Installing a solid-state drive in a PC speeds up the entire system several times and provides increased security. Thanks to TRIM technology, it is almost impossible to recover information from an SSD. This function is responsible for the physical destruction of data that is not used by Windows. 

However, TRIM is not supported by older operating systems. For example, in Windows below the “seven,” this functionality is absent. It is also not available on Macs below OS X. You will still be able to recover data from external drives because the USB and FireWare protocols are not compatible with TRIM.

Physical destruction

Perhaps the most reliable way to erase information is, relatively speaking, to put the HDD in the microwave. If the device storage is faulty, then no recovery software will help.

However, it is not necessary to spoil household appliances. You can use special devices that spoil the magnetic layer, and it becomes impossible to read information from it. Another thing is that it is not always possible to use this method. And there is no point if you are not agent 007: why spoil a working hard drive that can still serve? 

Software cleaning

The optimal way, requiring a minimum of effort. You need a unique utility that writes a random sequence of zeros and ones in place of the deleted files. Almost all free programs use different algorithms so that the removal efficiency may vary.

The most reliable Gutmann algorithm uses 35 cycles. And the US National Security Agency uses a seven-fold dubbing. One pass for permanent removal is quite enough for you. Remember, the more cycles, the longer the operation will take.

How to delete files with CCleaner

It is unnecessary to use this utility because it has many analogs—for example, Eraser or Paragon Disk Viper. However, CCleaner also comes in handy for clearing the cache and fixing registry errors.

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To thoroughly delete data, run the utility and go to the “Parameters” section. Then go to the “Settings” column. Here you need to select the “Safely delete files” item, and in the drop-down menu below, you need to confirm the number of overwrite cycles. Don’t forget to choose the drives you want in the window below.

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