How to Permanently Delete Windows Files

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Deleting a file on your Windows machine by sending it to the Recycle Bin does NOT permanently delete said file… not even when you empty the Recycle Bin. However, most of the time a normal delete is just fine. How can you delete your files and folders without sending them to the Recycle Bin, though? Matthew is here to help you out with this dilemmas.

First of all, you can bypass the Recycle Bin completely. Simply select the file you want to get rid of, hold down the Shift key and tap the Delete key. This will automagically delete the files, bypassing the Recycle Bin completely. You can make this a permanent change by modifying the properties of the Recycle Bin.

To modify the Bin properties, right-click the Recycle Bin, choose Properties and select the option to “Don’t Move Files to the Recycle Bin. Remove Files Immediately When Deleted.” Keep in mind that if you make a mistake, it’s too bad. It won’t be in the Bin for you to easily un-delete.

Now, if you are worried about more permanent solutions than that, what are you supposed to do? Perhaps you have financial information on a computer that you are thinking of selling. You definitely don’t want that falling into the wrong hands! Thankfully, there are software solutions that can help.

SecureDelete will permanently delete files and encrypt them in a way that makes it impossible to decipher if it ever were recovered. Installation of the software is simple and use is very intuitive.

Heidi Eraser allows you to delete and remove sensitive data from your hard disk by overwriting it several times. This method makes SURE that no one will ever be able to access that data. Eraser is able to wipe files and folders, encrypted files and drives, Internet cache and cookies and more. It will also destroy data on network files, floppy disks, CDs and DVDs and supports FAT32 and NTFS file systems.

DBAN happens to be my favorite utility of all. Darik’s Boot and Nuke is open source software which will erase and wipe hard disks and files from your computer – with no hope of recovery. It’s a fantastic tool to use for large quantities of data destruction. You can install it to boot from a floppy, CD or even a USB stick, depending on your boot options.

Thanks, Matthew, for an excellent screencast!