What, an article to make deleted files unrecoverable? You just used SHIFT + DELETE to permanently delete your files and here I am saying straight up to your face that it’s not deleted? Yes, your files are not permanently deleted and they can be still recovered.

Make Deleted Files Unrecoverable

When you want to get rid of a file and never want it to be recovered, then SHIFT+ DELETE or even formatting the disk doesn’t guarantee that it’s gone forever.

So what exactly happens when you delete your files?

Your files are actually stored in small chunks of storage space called Clusters and the details of where these clusters are located are jotted down in FAT (File Allocation Table) or MFT (Master File Table) as Records depending on the file system you use.

To know what File System you are using, Right Click on any of the drives in your system and click properties (or) Select the drive and press ALT + ENTER to bring up the properties window.

When you store a file in FAT32 file system then the details about the file are stored in FAT and when you store a file in NTFS file system the details about the file gets stored in MFT.

So when you delete a file from your hard disk the record entries in the FAT or MFT are just marked as available and can be used for storing new files. Hope you get the picture now; the files will be there in those clusters unless occupied by some new data.

How to Make Deleted Files Unrecoverable

So now that we understood how file deletion works, let us see what tools are available for deleting files permanently from our system.

File Shredder

  • Download (2.2 MB) and run the file_shredder_setup.exe
  • File Shredder once installed is available at your disposal via the Context Menu. If you don’t like it on your context menu then you can simply turn it off from the Shredder Settings.
  • Right click any file and under the File Shredder click Secure delete files option to delete the file instantly.
  • You can also shred your drives using the Shred Free Disk Space option.

File Shredder Utility

  • There are five algorithms provided in File Shredder that can help you to permanently shred your files.

Eraser

  • Go to Eraser website and download (8.68 MB) the setup file under the Stable Builds section.
  • Run Eraser and navigate to the Settings Tab.

Eraser settings page

  • Eraser provides algorithms (around 12) both for erasing files and for erasing unused space.
  • You can also replace an erased file with a file that you specify to allow plausible deniability.
  • You can also Schedule Eraser to erase specific files, unused space or recycle bin at the time you choose.

DBAN

  • DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) is not a graphical user interface based tool that can help you to delete selective files or drives.
  • DBAN is mostly preferred when you want to completely wipe your hard disk and install a fresh operating system or when you want to throw your disk away once for all.
  • Download (14.8 MB) the ISO file and burn it on to blank CD or DVD and boot your computer with it to erase your completed hard disk.

SDelete

  • SDelete is a simple command line tool that can help you to erase files and drives permanently.
  • Download (less than 1 MB) and extract the files.
  • Open the command prompt and navigate to the SDelete folder path.
  • You can delete a file by simply issuing a command as shown below:

sdelete.exe Test.txt

where Test.txt is the file that needs to be deleted.

SDelete command line tool

  • SDelete uses the Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DOD 5220.22-M to delete a file.

So ever thought about deleting your files permanently? What’s your way of doing this?