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File Shredder

Mallie from Texas asks:

I have been told that even if you delete items in your PC, they can still be found and read. If this is the case, how can you be sure that all of your deleted items are really gone forever?

Thanks for the question Mallie. It might be surprising to know that even if you delete a file and then empty your recycle bin, it can still be found and read by someone that knows what they’re doing. When a file is deleted, Windows marks it to be written over. So, the file remains on the hard drive until other data overwrites it.

If you are selling your computer or giving it away, you need to make sure your files cannot be accessed. Luckily, there is specialized software that is made solely for this purpose.

SuperShredder [1] is a good file shredder, and even better, it’s free. A file shredder permanently deletes and removes any file. Once a file has been shredded, no recovery software can retrieve or restore those files. Think of it as a paper shredder, a computer file shredder works in the same way except it shreds the document on the computer.

You can shred a single file or you can wipe the entire hard drive using shredders.

Of course there are other file shredders that are great applications: FileShredder [2], Wipe & Delete [3], and DBAN [4] are well-known shredders.


It is very important that you back up your files before you start using a shredder. You could accidentally shred a document that you DO want and once it is shredded you can’t get it back.

Plan some time when you start shredding if you are wiping out the entire drive. It takes approximately 1 hour per 1gb of space As you can see, it takes quite a bit of time.

We hope this has helped you understand what happens when you delete a file. Hopefully now you will be at peace knowing the files you deleted are really gone.

~Rita Wood