How do I delete files permanently from Windows?

Windows offers several methods for permanently deleting files, depending on the version of Windows that is being used.

Method 1 – Using the ‘Shift + Delete’ Key Combination

The simplest method for permanently deleting files in Windows is to press the “Shift” and “Delete” keys at the same time. This causes the file to be immediately and permanently deleted from your operating system without sending it to the Recycle Bin.

In some versions of Windows, such as Windows XP, you will be asked to confirm the deletion before it proceeds. Be sure that you are certain that you want to delete the file before confirming the deletion. Once you have confirmed the deletion, the file will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

Method 2 – Emptying The Recycle Bin

Files deleted in Windows are typically sent to the Recycle Bin, where they are held until the user decides to either restore the file or permanently delete it. The process for permanently deleting a file in the Recycle Bin varies between different versions of Windows.

In Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows, the user can simply right-click on the Recycle Bin icon, then select “Empty Recycle Bin” from the dropdown menu. A confirmation window will appear asking if you’re sure you want to delete all items in the Recycle Bin; select “Yes” to proceed.

In Windows 8, the user must first open the Recycle Bin window by double-clicking on its icon. From there, he or she can highlight the desired file(s) and then select “Delete” from the Ribbon menu at the top of the window. Lastly, another confirmation box will appear asking if you’re sure you want to permanently delete the selected file; click the “Yes” button to delete it.

Method 3 – Using Command Prompt To Delete Files

Command Prompt (cmd.exe) is a command-line utility included with all versions of Windows that provides a way to interact with the operating system. It is possible to permanently delete files using the command line by typing in a specific command and then pressing “Enter”.

To permanently delete a file, the user must open a Command Prompt window by typing “cmd” into the Run dialog box (located in the Start menu). Then type in the following command:

del /f/q

Where is the path and filename of the file you wish to delete. For example, if you wanted to delete a file located at “C:\my-file.txt”, you would type in the following command:

del /f/q C:\my-file.txt

Once you have typed the command and pressed “Enter”, the file will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

Method 4 – Using a Third-Party File Erasing Software

Some users may prefer to use special file erasing software to permanently delete files. These programs are designed to ensure that files are completely and securely removed from the hard drive, making them impossible to recover.

One of the more popular data erasing programs is Eraser, which is available for free from the official Eraser website. This program is quite easy to use and offers several different methods for permanently deleting files, including the popular Gutmann algorithm, which uses 35 passes to guarantee that the files cannot be restored.

These four methods should cover most scenarios in which users need to permanently delete files in Windows. Be sure to double-check that you are certain you need to delete the file before taking action, as once it has been deleted, it will be permanently gone and cannot be recovered.