Deleting files from a PC isn’t an enormous task. With just a few clicks, you can delete data from your Windows system. To delete a file permanently, people often use Shift+Delete or empty recycle bin. You might assume that the files are permanently gone but actually, they still remain on your hard drive waiting to be either recovered or get overwritten with new data.
Therefore, sensitive data such as bank details, autofill forms, save passwords, browsing history, system, & application traces is required to be secure, even after deletion as almost all file cleaner apps only delete – not erase- the data and thus these sensitive files can be recovered easily.
Also, to ensure that your data is permanently gone forever beyond recovery after deletion, it’s important that you wipe empty space (deallocated space) of your hard drive or simply erase the files instead of deleting them at the first place. But how do you do that?
By using inbuilt utilities in Windows OS [works up to an extent with no assurance] and data erasure tools such as BitRaser for File that gives you complete assurance of data sanitization beyond the scope of recovery with a Certificate of Erasure.
Simple Programs to Delete Files Permanently
BitRaser for File is an easy-to-use, safe, and secure data erasure program that helps you get rid of your sensitive data and confidential files. The program uses 17 international algorithms such as DOD 5220.22-M, NATO, etc. to erase files and folders including private data such as internet activities, system traces, application traces, and wipes empty space on your hard drive (which might contain previously deleted sensitive files & folders) using selected data erasure algorithm.
What’s more, this program also generates a ‘Certificate of Erasure’ after destroying the files from your system (Search & Erase). This certificate can be used by businesses for audits, monitoring, and to meet regulatory compliances. This certificate also gives a complete peace of mind to the people who are concerned about their data and information security.
To delete files permanently from your PC using BitRaser for File, follow these simple steps:
- Download, install and launch the BitRaser for File program on your Windows PC
- Go to Tools and choose desired Algorithm & Verification method from the drop-down. Click Apply
- Click Home and then click on Erase Now. Select the drive from where you want to permanently destroy the data. Do not select this option if you don’t want to wipe entire volume
- Click Internet Activities in the left pane and then select web browsers from the right panel which you use to browse the web
- Click on Application Traces and then select the Applications such as Email or chat application that may contain sensitive information
- Then click on System Traces in the left pane and select All or individual system trace that you want to wipe
- Then click on Erase unused Space and select the drives where you want to wipe empty or deallocated space (which may contain previously deleted files/folders)
- Finally, click Erase Now button and wait until the program wipes your sensitive data
- After erasure, it asks you to reboot the system. Click ‘Yes’ and now you have a clean PC with no sensitive information.
If you want to destroy particular files and folders, use Search File or Add Erasure list option. It also lets you schedule erasure based on time or when you boot or shut down your system
Moreover, this credible software comes from the house of Stellar Data Recovery, a renowned leader in data recovery services worldwide since 1993.
SDelete is an application provided by Microsoft which uses DOD 5220.22-M (3pass) erasure algorithm to permanently remove the files from your system.
To use SDelete,
- Download SDelete.exe from Windows Sysinternals (just google it)
- Place SDelete.exe in C:\Windows\System32\ directory
- Open command prompt with Admin rights
- Navigate to the drive or folder from where you want to delete files or folders permanently. For e.g. type CD C:\Users\USERNAME\Desktop\MyFolders to navigate to ‘MyFolders’ located on the Desktop of a user
- Next type sdelete –p 1 –s –r .\SecretFolder and hit Enter to permanently destroy SecretFolder and its files/sub-directories with one pass. You can change –p parameter value to change no. of passes
SDelete is an effective secure-delete utility, however, if you want to wipe multiple or selected directories & files stored at different locations —such as system traces, browsing data, etc. — it becomes a cumbersome and risky process with SDelete. There are chances that you might accidentally delete some important files with SDelete commands as it does not distinguish between system files and other files or folders. It simply follows the command you enter. Therefore, be cautious when you use this application for data sanitization.
Cipher Security tool is a built-in free command line tool in Windows to overwrite & wipe deleted data (deallocated space/empty space on the drive). Most Windows users are not even aware of this tool. It works pretty well and overwrites deleted files beyond recovery. However, it does not let you delete existing files and files less than the size of 1KB.
To use Cipher,
- Open command prompt with Admin rights
- Type cipher /w:E:\ and hit Enter. Here ‘E:’ is the drive/volume letter
- Wait till it overwrites each block with 3 different passes and makes deleted files unrecoverable
Use SDelete to get rid of unnecessary yet confidential files permanently beyond scope of recovery. SDelete is not for everyone and therefore, use it carefully. For wiping empty spaces on the drive — that may contain previously deleted data— use Cipher Security tool. It wipes only the deallocated storage space on the hard drive with 3 different passes that makes deleted files unrecoverable. However, if you want to be certain about your confidential data and safeguard your privacy, use BitRaser for File which is a safe and easy to use data destruction tool. Unlike SDelete and other data erasure programs, BitRaser for File does not let you destroy system or program files and anyone with basic knowledge of computers can also use this tool.
Using Bitraser for File, with just a few clicks, you can get rid of all your sensitive data stored on your system in the form of application traces, system traces, and your online activities that involves transactional data, online bank details, social media activities, passwords that you fill, chat messages, Emails, etc.