How to permanently Delete Files – Using Windows secret Built-In Tool

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

You may or may not know that when you drag items to the trash on your computer, they aren’t constantly deleted. Just watch an episode of your favorite Csi show, and you’ll see that its inherent to recover files that haven’t been deleted properly. And while I’m sure you’re not guilty of any Csi type crimes (or are you?), I’m sure you want to outline out how to constantly delete your files and keep your incommunicable things incommunicable — after all everyone has to have some secrets!

Why emptying your recycling bin doesn’t constantly delete your files

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When you tell your computer to empty its recycling bin, your operating system only deletes the records it has of the files you want to delete. Yet the files still remain on the hard drive memory.

How to permanently Delete Files – Using Windows secret Built-In Tool

Here’s an analogy: If you think of your files as books in a library and you settle you no longer have use for a positive book. Emptying the trash is equivalent to removing the entry in the library’s card catalog. The book is still there but not actually found by daily visitors. But if someone actually wanted to find it, and had a clue where to look, they quite possibly do so since it is still physically there.

What it means to constantly delete a file

To constantly delete a file, you need to not only delete its record, but also overwrite the corporal measure of the hard drive where it lives. A low level format is equivalent to replacing your incommunicable file with random bits (1’s and 0’s). Continuing with the library analogy you need to remove remove the book, shred it, light up in flames and possibly replace it with a distinct book

A uncomplicated way to constantly delete?

According to Microsoft, there is a keyboard shortcut in Windows to, quote, “permanently delete files”. You do this by selecting your file and hitting Shift+Del. Convinced? Neither am I. What they’re actually explaining is a shortcut from having to move the item to the trash and then emptying the trash.

Take it a step further

Here’s a poor man’s version of permanent deletion. Delete your files, empty your recycle bin, and run Disk Defragmenter settled in the Start menu under Accessories/System Tools. What this will do is optimize your hard drive by rearranging (most) of your files, and in doing so will most likely overwrite the files you want constantly deleted. Nice!

Do it right and do it better

While performing a defragmentation will probably do the trick, it’s actually not a viable solution. Waiting for disk defragmentation is not something I’d do every time I wanted to do a permanent deletion. The defragmentation process is way too long. The right way to how to constantly and fast delete files is to use a schedule specifically designed for that purpose. You’re in luck too because most Windows operating systems have a command line tool called Cipher to do the trick!

Here’s how to use Cipher:

1. After closing all windows, open up a command window.

2. Type the following: cipher /w:�driveletter:�foldername where driveletter and foldername correspond to the drive a location of where your deleted file used to live.

3. Sit back and enjoy your free time and privacy while your file is truly constantly deleted!

Here’s an example:

I have a photo I want constantly deleted which stored on my computer at the following location:


After deleting this photo and emptying the recycle bin, I would type the following (in a command prompt) to ensure that I can still run for senator (as long as they don’t catch me in the airport bathroom):

C:>cipher /w:C:�images

I can then move on to my life of privacy and carefree surfing!

You can do better!

Although I’m comfortable working with the command prompt, you may not be. No worries, there are plentifulness of other graphical based software tools that accomplish true permanent file deletion — not to mention they are much less tedious to use. The quote at gives a good summary of some of the most favorite graphic-based file deletion software available.

How to permanently Delete Files – Using Windows secret Built-In Tool


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