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Erasing files the safe way

Arrow Image This article shows how to delete files and make them impossible to restore.

Have you ever had a very secret file on your computer, which you didn\'t want anyone to see so you deleted it?

It may still be there. Waiting to be recovered by the police, FBI or another hacker ;)

When you delete a file the data will still be left on your hard drive. The only thing that actually happens is that the Operating System removes the reference of the file from the file system table. The actual contents of the file can be recovered using special recovery software, for example FinalData (

It\'s a bit like when you\'ve written something on a paper and erased it using a rubber. The text is still there, and you can still read it if you want to. But if you write something new over the erased text, erase the new text and repeat this some times, the original text won\'t be readable anymore.

The same procedure can be used on a hard drive. The file will be emptied, overwritten, emptied, overwritten over and over again until it\'s safe to delete the file. The magnetical remains of the file will be covered by other data and the file will be (almost) impossible to restore.

If you don\'t want to write your own application to overwrite files (or spend your time doing this manually), you can download an application which does it for you.

My favourite is Eraser by Heidi Computrers Limited. You can find this application at

-- This is my first article, please rate it :D Peace Uber0n ---


c4p_sl0ckon September 24 2006 - 21:11:55
Nice article! Very easy to understand and everything.Smile
Uber0non September 25 2006 - 06:25:55
Thx Smile I like to make it as simple to understand as possible ^^
godon September 25 2006 - 14:07:32
gd article Smile i knew that when u delete a file it 'physically' stays there, but its labelled as "data to be written over" so this clarified some stuff about it.. 8/10
hackerboy666on September 25 2006 - 16:15:03
i got a link for a site that tells you how to view these Hidden files, i havnt got around to trying it yet, but ill include it anway.
Uber0non September 25 2006 - 19:40:03
... But not if you're on a Windows box Pfft
h4xguyon September 25 2006 - 20:32:41
Hmmm...That could come in handy for my big plans...Muahahahahahahahaha!! Lol...PfftPfft
koolkeith12345on January 12 2007 - 22:52:39
gud article 4 those ppl who dont understand hard drives that well but maybe a little more info on how the file can be recovered so ppl who havnt had much experiance in this area cud learn more but overall im rating v, good
Uber0non February 14 2007 - 11:54:28
Yeah maybe I should make one on recovering data as well ^^ Wink
dubbydubbyon March 16 2007 - 20:14:29
Look in the system volume information, there is a copy there as well, you probably didn't even know about that.
Uber0non March 22 2007 - 21:18:20
It doesn't keep a copy of every file there, it'd be a waste of 50% of the HDD space Pfft
Mantis_52on November 22 2007 - 19:48:45
oh , and in the page file ^^, if you delete a file, windows sometimes stores it in the pagfile in plain text, ^^
Guardian-Mageon December 29 2007 - 19:34:03
For those of you using Windows Full time or dual booting, you may wish to consider CCleaner, formerly Crap Cleaner, a great program with the option to write over data up to 35 times.
Murvon June 28 2008 - 19:54:22
Nice article, not so usefull for me though, since I don't have any plans of keeping some illegal files on my computer Wink
game_freakon April 12 2009 - 00:49:14
couldn't you just take it out and use a big magnet?Smile
Uber0non May 24 2009 - 11:01:39
@game_freak: No. Melting the HDD does work, but that's a waste of hardware Wink
icecgroundon June 01 2010 - 14:55:21
Really good article, now ima go write some perl to overwrite a file 36 times. Always trying to be the best.
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