Does Windows Really Delete a File When You Press Delete?

Does Windows Really Delete a File When You Press Delete?

Does Windows Really Delete a File When You Press Delete?

Ever wondered why you can recover deleted files? It can be either scary or useful, depending on your situation. The fact that deleted files, including ones emptied from the Recycle Bin, can be recovered implies a caveat to the file deletion process. What is it? Continue reading to find out.

Files Aren’t Really Deleted

Spinning hard drives physically write data. Windows uses pointers to mark this data, indicating the beginning and end of file storage. When you delete a file, Windows only removes the data pointers, not the file itself. In other words, it acts like an index that keeps track of all the files on your system. So instead of deleting the file, it just deletes the entry from the index, giving the illusion of more memory on your system.

Does Windows Really Delete a File When You Press Delete?

Erasing a data file is time-consuming. Deleting the pointers for a 1 GB file only takes a few seconds, but the actual deletion of the file can take several minutes. Therefore, the system doesn’t bother with it. Instead, the computer waits for new downloads or copied files. Once it senses new data, it overwrites the previously “deleted” files. Only when the data file is overwritten is it truly deleted, as prior to that, file recovery software can recover it.

It’s Not the Same for SSDs

Does Windows Really Delete a File When You Press Delete?

SSDs are flash based and do not have spinning drives like hard drives. SSDs that support TRIM delete data immediately because you can’t overwrite data on an SSD. Instead, you need to erase old data before writing new data. This is why SSDs are better for file deletion.

See also  4 Best Ways to Check PC’s Uptime on Windows 11

How to Make Sure Your Data is Actually Deleted

If you have confidential data on your device that you want to ensure is deleted, download CCleaner. CCleaner is a popular cleaning utility for Windows that also includes a secure file deletion option. Instead of simply removing files, CCleaner overwrites them.

CCleaner’s data wiper tool is effective but only works for entire drives. If you need to delete individual files or folders, you may want to consider alternative apps like Eraser and SDelete.

To use CCleaner’s data wiper tool, navigate to Tools and select Drive wiper. Choose the drive you want to delete and adjust the security settings accordingly.

Does Windows Really Delete a File When You Press Delete?

Once the files are cleaned out, you have nothing to worry about. Most file recovery software relies on the file not being overwritten.

Leave a Comment