Permanently Deleting Files

27 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog

You have probably watched enough Law and Order episodes to know that law enforcement and bad guys on television can retrieve about anything they want from your computer, including items you deleted. Even if you are not a criminal mastermind, you may still have information you would like to bury for good, such as some indiscreet emails that complain about your in-laws, multiple old passwords, or perhaps a few pictures. If you are an employer, you will want to make sure that a new employee doesn't have access to a former employee's security information. You can take steps to make sure your private computing life stays private.

Deleting Your Files

You may, of course, delete your files on your computer by dragging them to the trash or recycle bin or choosing delete from the drop-down menu. This process only moves the files to a different directory. If you empty those directories, the information is still on your hard drive and recoverable by anyone determined. The only way to get rid of the files for good is to overwrite them. You can purchase numerous programs that will do just that. Good programs will overwrite the files multiple times so that others cannot use your information. Even law enforcement finds retrieving these overwritten files impossible.


Because so many people sell used smartphones when they get a new one, security can be an issue. Just like computers, smartphones and other mobile devices do not really get rid of deleted files, so someone dedicated to retrieving your texts and personal pictures can do so unless you remove and keep the SIM and SD cards. If you cannot do that, you need to go under your security settings and choose "encrypt." Then, you should return the phone to its factory settings. If that isn't enough security for you, buy a "wiping" program that will be more effective than your phone's encryption program. If you have an Apple device that uses iOS 5 or above, you can access an encryption program on your phone if you create a passcode. 

You must take steps to keep your computer and mobile device information safe after you have deleted it. Hitting that delete button really does nothing to keep others from seeing all your personal and security information. You need help from software "wiping" and overwriting programs in order to stop people from finding out things about you and your business that they do not need to know. For more information, contact a data recovery expert.