How do I delete a file permanently?

Deleting a file permanently can be done in various ways depending on the type of file and operating system being used. Generally speaking, if you delete a file from your computer, it will still be present in the recycle bin and can be recovered with the appropriate application. To truly delete a file permanently, it must be overwritten or shredded. In this article, we will explain how to delete a file permanently in two different ways: using manual procedures or software applications.

Manual Procedures

1. Emptying the Recycle Bin
When you delete a file from your computer, it is moved to a special area called the Recycle Bin. This acts like a safety net for accidentally deleting important files. To permanently delete a file from your computer, simply empty the Recycle Bin.

2. Shredding the File
Shredding is an option to completely erase a file so it can never be restored or retrieved. It involves overwriting the entire contents of a file multiple times with random garbage data. This makes it impossible for any recovery software to recover the original content. Shredding a file can be done manually by opening the file in a text editor, overwriting it with random characters, and saving it. Alternatively, specialized shredding software can be used such as Eraser, as long as it is configured properly.

Software Applications

1. File Shredders
As previously mentioned, specialized file shredders can be used to permanently delete files. These applications work by overwriting the data of deleted files multiple times with random data before permanently deleting them. Popular file shredding programs include Eraser and Privacy Eraser.

2. Disk Cleanup
Disk Cleanup is a utility program included with Windows operating systems that can be used to permanently delete files. It allows users to choose files and/or folders to delete along with any unnecessary files such as temporary internet files, application caches, and setup logs. Files and folders marked for deletion will be overwritten multiple times with random data before being permanently destroyed.

In conclusion, permanent deletion of files can be achieved either manually or by using software applications. To delete a file manually, one can empty their Recycle Bin or shred the file by overwriting it with random characters. Other options include using specialized file shredder software and Disk Cleanup.