Ask Leo: Is deleting a file and emptying my recycle bin enough?

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By Leo Notenboom

If I have deleted documents/photos from my PC and the Recycle Bin, is there a way that people can still find them? Or have I deleted them completely from my PC/hard drive?

It is possible that the files could still be recovered.

It’s also possible that they could not.

There are additional steps that you should take if you want to ensure that a deleted file actually is and stays deleted.

Deletion, deletion and deletion

There are actually three ways that files can be deleted. Each has a different chance of being recovered.

#1. Moving to the Recycle Bin.

When you delete a file in Windows Explorer or in some other applications, the file is not actually deleted at all, but rather simply moved to the Recycle Bin.

#2. Permanent delete.

When you empty the Recycle Bin or delete a file in the Windows command prompt, or when most programs delete a file, the file is just removed from the list of files on the system. The area that the file’s data previously occupied is marked as unused, but it is not otherwise erased.

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This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his blog.

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