Margaret from Greenfield Park, QC writes:

I am 72 and would like to know why delete is not really delete. I deleted an article by mistake and my son came over and used Glary Utilities and showed me all (maybe not all) my deleted articles. How can I get them out so that they are deleted?

Margaret, your son used Glary Utilities data recovery , a pretty powerful data recovery tool that helps find lost or accidentally deleted files. Those files would not have been easily accessible to someone who just opened up your computer and started looking for a file. But you do point out something about all data on your computer. None of it is really ever gone even if you do delete it. The data is there until the drive is overwritten. That’s why is it very important to make sure you completely wipe the drive before donating, reselling or throwing out a computer.

Deleting an article and emptying the recycle bin is probably enough to everyday use, but what is really deleted is the link to the data that enables you to quickly access the data. Then new data is allowed to overwrite that portion of the hard drive eventually. But that won’t necessarily happen right away and the old file may not be completely overwritten. That’s why data recovery software can find accidentally deleted files.

Fortunately, if you have Glary Utilities, you should already have their File Shredder utility available.  When you want to completely remove a file, choose File Shredder and add those files, then run the delete list. What File Shredder will do is overwrite that part of the hard drive with junk data.

But if you do that, you won’t ever be able to retrieve an accidentally deleted file and unless your file contains confidential information, the effort to make that data unusable is probably just extra work for you.

~ Cynthia