Has it ever happened to you that while browsing all your files on your PC, you encounter files you no longer need? You might feel the need to permanently delete those unwanted files.
Well, the only thing that can be done in this scenario is to remove them from your system. The next question that comes across is how to permanently delete a file from your computer and what are the effective ways?
To answer these questions, here I will be listing all possible easy ways using which you can delete a file permanently.
But before that, it is important to keep in mind whether you want to keep deleted files recoverable or unrecoverable. There are many smart data recovery software available which can recover your files even after you delete them.
Recoverable methods are easier and faster but if you care for your data too much and don’t want anyone to recover them later and misuse, you should always go the unrecoverable way.
First I will discuss recoverable methods of deleting a file permanently recoverable then unrecoverable ones. So, let’s start.
How to Delete a File Permanently? Traditional and Recoverable
1. Delete the file and empty recycle bin
The first and easiest way for deleting a file is that we can simply drag a file and drop it in the recycle bin (trash). Or you can also select the file and press the delete button on the keyboard.
This might not be an option that offers permanent deletion but it helps in temporary deletion of the file. Using this option for deletion comes with its benefits. The most important benefit is that if in the future you might feel the need to restore the file it can be easily achieved. You open recycle bin, select the files you need to restore, right click and click restore.
Now deleting the files and putting in the recycle bin is a go-to move. But there is one risk also attached to it.
What if you keep on stacking all the files in the recycle bin to the day until it starts taking effective space in the recycle bin! That brings us back to square one. We can avoid this by making some of the changes in the properties of the recycle bin.
2. Change recycle bin setting
– In case of Windows 10, right-click on the recycle bin option, go to properties and choose the disks for which you want permanent deletion enabled.
– After the selection of all the disks click on the radio which says “Don’t move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted”.
– Confirm these settings by clicking on the apply button at the bottom right of the dialog box.
3. Using Shift + Delete
But what if you need to delete a file permanently from your system’s hard disk without making these properties changes, then what can you do?
– One effective way for permanent removal of files is pretty simple. All you need to do is simply select the concerned files. Press and hold the shift key and click on the delete key on the keypad.
This way without the use of any external software you can easily delete files permanently from our system. And thereby, keep your computer clutter free.
How to Delete a File Permanently Making it unrecoverable
Even though we have these simple methods already available on our systems, there might exist other ways of deleting our files wherein we can not only delete our files but also overwrite these files.
Overwriting the files make sure that your files can not be recovered after deletion using any recovery tool.
This way we can not only remove the data which we no longer need but also replace it with the data in the same files which is of high importance for us. We have several tools available that provide us with this functionality.
1. Cipher (tool offered by windows)
A built-in tool called Cipher is a security tool offered by windows in the versions – Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. This tool helps overwrite to locations which has been deleted.
The location can be that of a folder, file or an entire drive. Make sure you are not using any application, specially the target folder/file/drive.
To use this tool, follow these steps:
– Quit all programs, search for cmd to open command prompt, right click, run as administrator.
– In the command line, type the command: cipher/w:path. Hit enter after typing the command.
* Here path refers to the path or location of the source you want to delete.
Just to make thing easy for you, here’s how you can find the location. Here I have to permanently delete “To Delete” folder using cipher command, right click on the folder > properties > general, you can find the location in the second line.
* This method works only for files greater than 1 KB in size.
2. Eraser (Tool for Windows)
One of such applications is – Eraser (a tool for windows). This is a tool that helps in pinpointing the files on our systems and overwriting them before the deletion of their actual directories.
Once the app is installed you can simply right-click after pointing on the file and then click the eraser icon and choose erase.
Eraser tool allows the user 20 overwrites on a particular file, which is not a bad number. Not only this you are provided with an additional feature of automated deletions in cases where the amount of information to be deleted is huge. Download Eraser for Windows now.
3. CCleaner (Clean your Windows)
Another similar application is the CCleaner (for windows). A free tool to remove your boredom of deleting files the regular way, CCleaner also helps in overwriting files you may not need now.
By specifying particular locations on your systems you can clean the files and overwrite them. Not only this you can also define the number of overwrites you need on a particular file.
Hence this is another tool that comes to your rescue enabling almost automated overwrites and easy deletion.
These were names of a few of the applications offered for the Windows operating systems to enable easy ways to delete files.
Have a Mac?
But what should one do if they have a mac laptop (iOS software)? How can such people have the joy of experience similar features? While Apple offers secure deletion of files as a built-in feature of the trash bin, there are some other good ways too.
But before proceeding to the method, let us understand the simplest way for removing files from mac.
1. All you need to do is to drag the files which you mean to delete in the trash bin. After that click on finder, go to the “secure empty trash” option and that’s all! All your files are now securely removed from your system.
2. Another way of secure removal in mac is to go to the Disk Utility app and heading over to the “erase” option. And click on the “security options”.
Delete a file permanently using file shredder
There is a great application iShredder available for $19.99/year. Using this application, you can simply drag and drop the files to the app icon to delete them permanently.
Not only this, but this application also uses different algorithms to define the count for overwriting the concerned files, thus making them unrecoverable.
It provides 20+ ways to erase your data securely and promises military grade security.
Checking whether files are actually deleted or not
But how can you be sure that your selected files have been permanently deleted from your system? To answer this question a simple tool called iMyFone AnyRecover is there.
This tool is applicable for both windows and mac.
On windows system, you simply need to open the application and choose the recycle bin option. Hit on the start button to initiate the scan.
After the scan is complete you will get a list of all files present in the recycle bin. From that you can see whether the file you want to be permanently deleted is present or not. If it is not present it means that the file is now permanently deleted.
You should check 12 Best Data Recovery Software in 2020 (Free and Premium)
With these applications offering extra features, the deletion of files has not only become easy but also has added the extra feature of overwriting pre-existing files thus avoiding the allocation of new memory to temporary files.