As many computer users know, simply deleting a file and emptying the recycling bin doesn’t permanently delete it from your system. In most cases, files that have been emptied from the recycling bin can still be recovered – provided the user hasn’t recently added tons of data to their system.
Why? Well, it has to do with the way Windows handles file deletion. When you empty the recycling bin, Windows just signals that that part of the hard drive can be written over. That data is still there, although users can’t access it without special data recovery software.
Since many users don’t know that most deleted data can be recovered from a PC, it’s important to know how to safely delete any important files – like financial documents, banking emails, or whatever other stuff you don’t want other people to read.
Here are a few free software tools that will help you do exactly that:
Eraser is a simple Windows tool that permanently deletes files on your computer. Users start up the software and choose the files that they want to permanently delete. There a number of different erasing tools bundled with this software, making it easy for users to get rid of any private or confidential files they don’t want to share.
Download Eraser here
CCleaner is one of the most popular PC tools available today. With a single scan, CCleaner wipes out all the crap on your PC (the original name of the software was CrapCleaner). That ‘crap’ includes unused temporary internet files, cookies, history, cache data, and more. Basically, if you want to get rid of any signs you were using a computer while speeding up your PC in the process, CCleaner can help. CCleaner also has a permanent delete feature and a task scheduling option.
Download CCleaner here
When you uninstall a program using the traditional Windows uninstall tool, traces of it still remain on your system. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some programs keep user preferences saved on your system, for example, while PC games can keep user save files. But with Revo Uninstaller, you can instantly remove all traces of a program from your system with just a few clicks. So if you don’t want your friends to know that you ever played the Mine Little Pony mod for Minecraft, then the Revo Uninstaller can help delete that embarrassing chapter from your past.
Download Revo Uninstaller here
You shred physical documents. So why not shred virtual documents with the File Shredder program? File Shredder is a handy program that allows users to delete files without the risk of getting them recovered. Simply install the software, add all the files and folders you want deleted, then watch the Shredder go to work. Unfortunately, File Shredder isn’t nearly as much fun as using a real-life file shredder.
Download File Shredder here
SDelete is a command line tool that allows users to securely delete any files that are saved on the computer. This tool can be devastating if you accidentally delete the wrong file, so use it wisely.
Fortunately for inexperienced tech users, you’ll need to use location-specific commands to securely delete files from your system. So clicking on the wrong part of the screen won’t instantly fry your system.
All instructions on using SDelete can be found when you open the application for the first time.
Download SDelete from the official Microsoft website here