Best Practice: Your "deleted" confidential files are still on your machine - delete them properly!
Deleting one or more files under Windows normally just moves those files to the recycle bin. These files only disappear from view when the recycle bin is full or the user proactively empties it.
Delete data – but please do it securely!
Before you sell a storage volume, pass it on to someone else or destroy it you must delete all confidential files and sensitive information to protect your privacy. Most people will just hit delete and think their data has been safely erased – not so! In truth the files are still on the computer drive – only the references to them in the file system index have actually been removed. Overwriting the entire storage volume is one possibility for securely deleting the files but this is not always a sensible or practical option.
How can deleted data still be there?
Fact 1: Deleting files or documents “normally” on a Windows operating system simply moves those files to the recycle bin to start with. These files only disappear from view when the recycle bin is full or the user proactively empties it.
Fact 2: In truth the files are still on the computer drive – only the references to them in the file system index have actually been removed. As a result the files you think are deleted are actually still on the disk or drive and can easily be recovered with the best file recovery software, such as O&O DiskRecovery.
Fact 3: Even formatting a hard disk is not enough to securely delete confidential data!
So what should I do?
You must delete your hard disks and SSDs permanently with O&O SafeErase before you sell or pass them on! It is the only sure method to protect your privacy and prevent identity theft. In addition to standardized deletion methods of the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) you can also select a complex mathematical method (the Gutmann method), which complies with the highest security levels. In this scientifically approved method of data deletion, corresponding areas of the hard disk are overwritten 35 times using precisely defined rules along with fixed and random values.
In order to be absolutely sure that all those files that were deleted in the “usual” way really cannot be reconstructed – and without having to delete the entire storage volume – O&O SafeErase also offers the option of securely deleting free disk space on the hard disk, also known as “free space wiping”. In addition there also options available to delete the “Cluster Tips” and “MFT Entries. The “Cluster Tips” can theoretically contain small file fragments of old files, whereas the MFT Entries can offer help establishing the names of files.