When you click "DELETE", is that file really gone?

Updated: Apr 15, 2019


Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash


So, lets say you are finishing up a report on your computer for school and wanted to save it to review later (like any great scholar would) and you get a message saying you can’t save because you don’t have any space left. That is pretty scary huh! You’ve had your computer for some years now so you decide that right now is a perfect time for you to start clearing out and deleting those old files that aren’t needed. Once you have gone through all your folders, everything you want gone is in your recycle bin which you just empty out and delete forever with a single click. Wah Lah! You have space now to save your document but did your other documents actually get deleted?


The answer to that question is “NO”!


According to Popular Science, “When you delete a file from your computer, it doesn't simply disappear from existence—at least, not right away. Even if you immediately empty the Recycle Bin or Trash folder, all your deletion does is earmark the space that file takes up on your hard drive as vacant. Until another file or application comes along to make use of that room, the old data will continue to sit there. Which is why specialized programs can often recover deleted files for you.”



Knowing that the files (or data) that you thought no longer exists on your computer, but it really does, provides a great risk to you especially if the information is personal (or sensitive). There have been a number of incidents that take place where an individual’s computer may get hacked by an attacker and that person is wondering “How did my information get stolen if I deleted it”; well you have your answer now!



If you own a computer operating Windows Operating System (OS), you can use a free software called Eraser or Blank and Secure to help permanently delete items from your computer. If you own a computer operating MacOS, you can use an application called Secure Delete – File Shredder. Unfortunately, this application does cost but in the end, it’s all worth your identity. (KIMKOMANDO)


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