Windows XP help - How do I permanently delete files in Windows?

When You Delete A File In Windows It's Not Really Deleted

When you delete a file in Microsoft Windows it goes into your Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin temporarily stores your files until you decide to really delete them, or restore them. Free help - how to secure erase It's a kind of a safety-net in the event you change your mind and want your file back. By default, Windows will automatically 'empty' the Recycle Bin when the contents reach 10% of the total available storage space on your hard drive. For most systems this means there can be a lot of old files in the Recycle Bin at any time!

You Can Manually Empty The Recycle Bin By Following These Steps:

  • Find the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and right-click on it with your mouse button.
  • On the menu that appears, select "empty Recycle Bin"
  • A message will appear asking you to confirm that you really want to delete all the files in the Recycle Bin. If you're sure, choose YES.

Even After Emptying The Recycle Bin Files Aren't Really Gone!

Did you know that even after you empty the Recycle Bin your files and data are still on your hard drive, and still easily accessible to anyone with access to your PC? This is because of how Microsoft Windows 'deletes' files. When Windows deletes your files from the Recycle Bin it does not 'wipe' from your disk, it only removes the location of where your files were from it's File Allocation Table (FAT). Removing the file information from the "FAT" means that Windows no longer recognizes the data as being available, but the data is still on your hard disk and can easily be recovered using recovery software or hacking tools!
make my files secure


It Is Possible To Fully Erase Your Data For Security And Privacy Reasons

Fortunately for those concerned about their privacy, there are utility programs available to fully and securely wipe old files from your hard drive. These utilities wipe the actual data information from your disk by using complex 'hashing' and encryption that makes your old files and information completely unrecoverable - even by the FBI! It has been rumored (although we have no way of knowing if this is true) that Al-Qaeda used these techniques on computers recovered in Iraq and Pakistan, making it impossible, or at the very least, difficult for the CIA and FBI to recover the data on the computers.



Comment viewing options

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Ocean (not verified)
Annoying Delete File
It is so painful to know that data still can be recovered.
jawad (not verified)
Re: Windows XP help -
i have hidden a folder using softwear hitbit and now that prog is expired.i want that hidden folder back.what should i do.please help me i will be very thankful to you
Since October (not verified)
Re: Windows XP help - How do I permanently delete files in ...
Why hasn't anyone just recommended deleteing cached/tmp files? Along with History and Cookies, and don't forget to take out your trash when you're done.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: Windows XP help - How do I permanently delete files in ...
Windows build-in program “Cipher Tool” (Cipher.exe) wipe certain files and folders you want to delete but it needs you're good at command line. or use other utilities,but be careful with "free".
bella miller (not verified)
Re: Windows XP help - How do I permanently delete files in ...
Yeah , it is very imp to delete all the sensitive data b4 you get rid of your old system.The simplest way to do this is to format all the drives but that too may not delete all the data and there are always chances to recover them.I can suggest you 1 application that will remove all your data permanently forever and no other tool is able to recover it."Advanced System Optimizer "has tools named Secure Delete that does the permanent deletion of the data and Privacy Protector,that deletes your confidential information, including all traces of your usage history, is completely and securely erased from your machine,it also improves your system performance by removing files that take up disk space and consume can download this from cnet.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: Windows XP help - How do I permanently delete files in ...

Use thermite instead. Not only is it more likely to work, but its way cooler to watch!

Member for 8 years 50 weeks
GuG-Points: 1
permantly erasing files

what are a listing of some programs and utilities that totally hash and encrypt the files so the fbi can't even recover them?

for future reference Laughing out loud

thehunter's picture
Member for 9 years 2 weeks
GuG-Points: 267
re: erasing files

For future reference,old school style....If your worried about "red dye" dont rob the Bank.Laughing




...Freedom isn't Free...

Kahdaver's picture
Member for 9 years 2 weeks
GuG-Points: 138
Google Something like DOD

Google Something like DOD Delete....

Member for 9 years 2 weeks
GuG-Points: 1
so if I use recovery software.. It'll ALL be back on?

Okay, so I have some annoying files that I deleted that I really don't want back on (files that caused a mini virus, that stuff) so if I use recovery software, or a hacking system... EVERYTHING including the annoying file will be back on?
Or do I have a choice?

I am a Grown Up Geek from Cyberspace
Member for 9 years 44 weeks
GuG-Points: 1043
Recovery software

it really depends on the recovery software.. it is possible that some recovery programs will recover everything - including things that you don't want..

Member for 9 years 5 weeks
GuG-Points: 3
Completely Erase Files

Write a quick cmd line script to write the whole drive to ones or zeros your choice

thatl get rid of everything

Anonymous Visitor
Re: Completely Erase Files

how do i go about and erase old files from my computer

GeekyBlackGirl's picture
I am Not Telling
Member for 9 years 6 weeks
GuG-Points: 687
Erasing files from hard drive

IF you can do this, what software is safe to use that won't destroy your computer?

I am a Grown Up Geek from Cyberspace
Member for 9 years 44 weeks
GuG-Points: 1043
Really erase files from your hard drive

All the 'professional' programs are safe, and wont destroy your computer.. You can download them from the net for around $20 (some cost a little more).. i always stay away from the free ones because i dont trust them (spyware, no support, etc)..
I havnt used one in a long time (i got nothing to hide!) or i would tell you which one i used.. but i cant remember now!

Trev (not verified)
Securely permanently erase files in XP

I'm sure that if the FBI or CIA found osama bin laden's hard-drive, they would be able to get ANYTHING out of it.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: Securely permanently erase files in XP
Let's hope so. Smile
Anonymous (not verified)
Permanently Erase Files

Delete from recycle bin if you dont already know that...but it is still recoverable if the user is computer savvy.
Other ways:

-Soak it in HCl acid.
- Delete files using DBAN. It is effective but erases the entire hard drive.


Jensen (not verified)
Permantly delete files in xp

ok, i tried the HCI acid but now windows won't boot, and the skin is peeling off my fingers LOL!

if your files/data/kiddy porn is THAT secret you should not be using Windows!

Anonymous (not verified)
Permanently Erase Files in Windows

Use erasing software before the HCI !

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.