Deleted files are moved to either recycle bin or ‘permanently’ deleted by Windows (removed from File Explorer and recycle bin, but, you know, the detail of the file is still there, which is recoverable)
Then, how do we guarantee the deleted file is truly erased and sensitive files are really gone forever?
Instead of deleting them, we can wipe them clean, to wipe is to overwrite. overwrite each sector (sectors store data) with binary character 1 and/or 0, you can choose which method to apply in Data Wiper. Let’s move on to erasing data.
When we press the delete button, the target is deleted to recycle bin, which can be recovered later if you deleted it by mistake, but how to really delete the file? to empty the recycle bin? No, data recovery programs can easily pick up deleted files even after you have emptied the recycle bin.
Now Let’s wipe the recycle bin in Data Wiper:
Now, files in recycle bin are wiped clean, next time we can directly wipe them instead of using the “empty recycle bin” function, of course, you can still use this option when you just want to free up space on the disk
Another situation is that when we delete the file, we use the shortcut combination of Shift+Delete to delete the file, which won’t throw the file the recycle bin but directly deleted. In this case, we can’t wipe the recycle bin, because it’s empty, the wipe recycle bin function will show an empty recycle bin too, what else can we do to make sure the deleted file cannot be recovered.
Well, we can wipe free space, free space which has residue of the deleted file, let’s overwrite the left context of the deleted file with a meaningless number in Data Wiper, steps can be performed like this:
The last step is optional, you can still continue to work on the partition, the process of wiping free space won’t affect your current work nor data you saved, but overwriting is the step of writing new data to the hard drive, although it’s meaningless data, the wiping progress will is slower than reading, and it takes time to complete, the large the partition is, the longer it takes, so it’s best to perform the wiping step while you’re using the computer
Alternatively, you can wipe the entire disk or a single partition, but that will take longer time, the fastest and the most secure way of permanently wiping deleted files is to use the Wipe Recycle Bin function
Cipher.exe is the default free space wiping tool in Windows, it overwrites sectors by 3 times, since Windows Server 2003, take the official explanation Cipher.exe has
the ability to overwrite data that you have deleted so that it cannot be recovered or accessed
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17134.165] (c) 2018 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. C:\Users\Macrorit>cipher /w:c: To remove as much data as possible, please close all other applications while running CIPHER /W. Writing 0x00 ............................................................................ Writing 0xFF ............................................................................ Writing Random Numbers ............................................................................
Cipher is easy to use, in Windows 10, you can press the WIN+R buttons and type
cmd to open the command prompt, then type
cipher /w:c: to wipe free space on C Drive, replace ‘C’ with another drive letter if you have a different volume to deal with
Data Wiper also has a 3-pass overwriting method: DoD 5520.22-M, click to learn more.
What’s the difference between recycle wiping and free space wiping, I mean, can I just wipe free space to wipe every deleted file?
Yes, sure you can just wipe free space if all deleted files are on the same partition. Wipe Recycle bin can wipe files from different drives, say, for example, we delete a file in D: Drive, and another in E: Drive, yet another in F: Drive, those 3 files are from different drives but end up in recycle bin, we can run the Wipe recycle bin function in Data Wiper once to wipe deleted data clean, and wiping three files won’t take much time, only seconds will do. But the Wipe free space function will have to run 3 times on the 3 drives, will take much longer time (depends on the size of the drive instead of the size of the file).
If, however, all files are from the same drive, and those files take up almost the entire size of the partition, wipe free space, then, almost perform the same.
So, if we’re about to wipe fewer files from different drives, Wipe recycle bin is better, otherwise, Wipe free space can be considered.