If you want to get rid of a file, I’ll bet that you subconsciously drag it to the Recycle Bin and right click -> Empty Recycle Bin, thinking that the file has vanished into a black hole forever. Well, I have some bad news for you.
Recycle Bin doesn’t work like that.
Just to be clear, I’m talking about the one that sits on your computer, not the one under your office desk. The Empty Recycle Bin command works by deleting a piece of data that tells you where the file is on your hard disk. After that bit of data is deleted, the file won’t show up on your file browser. That doesn’t mean it’s gone forever though. It still exists in its entirety in the hard drive, and can be recovered.
Fortunately, there’s a way to delete files once and for all. The folks at heidi.ie have coded Eraser, a tool that does what the Recycle Bin could only dream of doing. Instead of deleting the first 16 bytes of data (which is what Recycle Bin does), it goes through the file, erasing the whole nine yards. You read that right. After a file goes thru Eraser, you will never find it again.
It’s a great tool for those of you who are worried about sensitive data. If you aren’t using this already, you should. Even if you don’t do any work for the CIA or FBI, Eraser can help you save a ton of disk space by not keeping one byte of a deleted file. Use it carefully though, because one that file is gone, it’s gone forever.