How to delete data securely on your Windows system

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How to delete data securely on your Windows system

We often need to delete files or personal documents from our PC’s hard drive by using the shortcut Shift + Delete from the keyboard. But are you sure about using this will remove the folder or file permanently and cannot be recovered; however, it removes the folder or file without sending it to the Recycle Bin?

Pressing Shift + Delete doesn’t instantly delete the file from the PC though it shows that has deleted it. The Windows assigns space for the deleted file or folder, and it can be recovered by using a recovery tool before the system overwrites the space with a new file.

There are many tools to delete data from the system hard drive securely. Among them, we would suggest three tools that you could use to remove the file permanently from the system. Those three tools are as follows:

  • Cipher
  • Eraser
  • File Shredder

How to delete data securely using Cipher

Windows has its own built-in secure deletion tool called Cipher. This tool has been present since Windows XP. If you do not prefer to use any third-party software, then you can use this.

Note: Before running Cipher, you should delete the files or folders from Recycle Bin or using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Delete. The tool only erases the data securely, which has already been deleted.

Follow the below steps to use Cipher:

  1. Launch Powershell by right-clicking on the Start.windows-powershell
  2. Now, type cipher /w:C: (cipher /w:<path>) and then hit Enter from the keyboardHow to delete data securely using Cipher

This will overwrite the deallocated data on the C: drive, meaning it will securely remove the deleted data.

Note: It will not touch the files or data which has not been deleted. So, no need to worry about other files.

The process may take time if overwriting a large amount of space, and for speeding things up, after /w: specify the exact path of the folder. For example, cipher /w:C:\Users\whooptous\Documents

How to delete data securely with Eraser

If you want to delete the files, folders, partitions, and unused space securely, you can use the Eraser tool. It adds to the File Explorer so that you can select a file, folder, or a partition to erase by right-clicking on it. In addition to that, it also comes with options to run tasks manually, on restart or on a scheduled basis.

Follow the below steps to use Eraser tool:

  1. Download and install it from here. After installation, make sure the option for Integrate Eraser Into Windows Explorer is enabled for removing data via Explorer.
  2. Now right-click on the file/folder/partition you want to remove.
  3. Select Eraser and then EraseEraser tool
  4. A pop-up confirmation to erase the selected file/folder/partition will appear, click Yes to delete.

How to delete data securely using File Shredder

File Shredder is another third-party utility tool that also allows erasing files and wipes free disk space securely. Follow the below actions:

    1. Download and install File Shredder from here.
    2. To remove manually,
      1. run the tool and add files/folders which you want to remove
      2. click on Shred Files Now.
    3. Alternatively,
      1. right-click on the files/folders which you want to delete
      2. select File Shredder and then Secure delete files.

file shredder tool

Securely deleting data from your system is a somewhat integral part of data maintenance and keeping privacy. Pressing Shift + Delete from your keyboard or dragging files to Recycle bin and deleting them securely, is not the same. They have a huge difference.

With the above tools, you can securely erase your data with no restoration. And these are the efficient tools which we would suggest to purge documents and folders. With them, you can also erase system junk files to free up some disk space.

Whooptous News Desk
We are a group of Engineers who are tech enthusiasts and like to make people aware of the latest technologies and how it may also help people to enhance and improve life. We dig deep into the below-ground depths of technological understanding, digging up the most vital, behind-the-scenes information. Contact Whooptous staff at [email protected] or by filling the Contact Form.

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