When you delete a file on your computer you simple click delete and place it in the trash or recycle bin, right? Wrong!
This standard approach may appear as if the file has been completely deleted from your system but that isn’t always the case. Thankfully this comprehensive infographic shows you exactly how you can ensure your files are deleted permanently.
The risks of not permanently deleting files
Whether its passwords, email or bank details, the chances are that your computer contains countless amounts of highly sensitive information.
Imagine if you sold your computer on eBay. Before you shipped it off to its new owner you’d probably drop and drag all of your files into the recycling bin, so that the new owner didn’t have access to your personal information. Unfortunately this approach doesn’t mean that your files are really deleted.
The last thing you want is this information getting into the wrong hands, so it is essential that you know how to permanently delete your files.
What actually happens when you delete your files?
When you delete files using the process outlined above what happens is that the links to your data are removed but the information is simply placed in a new directory on your hard drive.
The amount of data that still exists largely depends on the computer and operating system you are using. Consequently if you have deleted sensitive information recently it’s worth having a closer look on your hard drive to see if the files still exist!
How to permanently delete files
If you are using a Mac permanently deleting files is easy. We have some useful screenshots in the infographic but essentially you need to secure empty trash by selecting the option within the ‘Finder’ menu. You’ll then need to open ‘Disk Utility’ to permanently and securely delete the files.
If you are using a PC your best option is to download a permanent deletion program. These are easy to use and you’ll be able to permanently delete files in a flash.
Don’t worry if you delete a file by mistake. Until your hard drive overwrites the data you should be able to recover the file.
Featured photo credit: Dollar Photo Club via dollarphotoclub.com