So, you have probably heard of the guy called Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto, who shot to fame (in a bad way) after police recovered his infamous drug video from a computer. The video file was deleted but then was brought back to life with a file recovery software. Is that even possible? You bet, it sure is. And there are free software out there which will allow you to recover deleted computer files from the hard drive, even if they date back to many years. A list of them are given at the bottom. However, the point of this article is to discuss one important issue, that is, how do you delete files forever?
Before getting into that discussion let’s talk about what happens when you click on a file and hit the Delete key. The file goes to Recycle Bin. Then you go to Recycle Bin and empty it. Now it seems that the file has disappeared for good. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 1’s and 0’s of the file still remain and with the right software, the entire file can be recovered. So, how to make sure the file is deleted? There are several ways.
The simplest way to delete a file for good is to overwrite the area in the hard drive with other data. This is accomplished by a Free software called Eraser. The software erases a file from the hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. It is very easy to use and is very effective. Eraser even meets the US Department of Defence’s guidelines for secure deletion of data.
Other options include: sDelete and Mac’s Disk Utility (for Apple users).
Now, if you want to recover data from your disk, here are some free software to help you:
- Puran File Recovery – “Puran File Recovery can be used to recover deleted/lost files/partitions. Files can be recovered from formatted disks too. Almost everything that is detected as a drive by Windows can be scanned irrespective of its file system. Be it Hard Disks, Pen Drives, Memory Cards, Mobile Phones, CDs, DVDs, basically any storage medium” – Developer’s description.
- Easeus Free Partition Recovery Software
- PhotoRec – Digital Picture and File Recovery – “a file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures (thus the Photo Recovery name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s file system has been severely damaged or reformatted” – Developer’s description.
In conclusion, it is always a good idea to delete sensitive files for good. Moreover, wiping out the hard drive before throwing the computer away or gifting it to someone is also recommended. Otherwise, sensitive personal information can be recovered and used for unwanted benefits. The last option for getting rid of the data permenantly is to just hammer down the hard drive and trashing it.